CONCORD, NH –As part of their new Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, Representatives Frank Guinta (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02) hosted a joint roundtable today to help solve New Hampshire’s growing heroin epidemic.
The Granite Staters discussed their Stop the Overdose Problem Already Becoming a Universal Substance Epidemic (STOP ABUSE) Act, which they introduced in Congress this month. The expert panel in attendance provided feedback and outlined more steps that local law enforcement, support services and the federal government could take to assist individuals and families affected by opioid addiction.
“During my time in office, I have seen opioid abuse rise to unprecedented levels throughout New Hampshire’s communities,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “And despite our best efforts, there is still no end in sight. We are on track this year to exceed the number of opioid-related deaths in the state, and as jarring as those statistics are, behind each number is a life lost and a family devastated by the death of a loved one. There is no single fix to end the growing heroin crisis, but I am proud to have introduced the STOP ABUSE Act with Representative Guinta as one piece of the solution. Today’s roundtable was a valuable opportunity to hear from experts about what else Congress, the state, and medical providers can be doing to better bring an end to the opioid epidemic, and I look forward to taking their feedback with me back to Congress, where I will continue to fight to support all measures that would bring relief to individuals and families affected by opioid drug abuse.”
Rep. Guinta added,"Today's roundtable was an opportunity to hear from law enforcement officers and medical professionals on the front lines of a deadly epidemic. To do our jobs, Representative Kuster and I must hear their expert advice, based on frequent, personal interactions with sufferers of heroin addiction. The discussion was enlightening and valuable, emphasizing the immediacy of the problem, and has already increased momentum towards better solutions, which should focus on decreasing supply and demand for heroin, as well as improving addiction treatment. I'd like to thank participants for their contributions and hard work helping our state and families to recover."
TheSTOP ABUSE Act establishes an Interagency Task Force on Heroin Addiction, reauthorizes drug crisis grants, and revises treatment guidelines for individuals ineligible for take-home treatment. Department of Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes, Chief Justice Tina Nadeau, State Police Colonel Robert Quinn, and other experts from the health care, law enforcement, and treatment fields joined Reps. Guinta and Kuster to talk about their legislation.
The two have previously partnered on mental health and veterans initiatives. They say their latest partnership will help create lasting solutions for communities nationwide. Rep. Kuster is also a cosponsor of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which would provide states with greater resources to combat abuse and create alternatives to incarceration. She is a supporter of legislation to help treat substance dependence in newborns and to allow Medicare to cover addiction treatment at community facilities.
Additionally, Rep. Guinta introduced a bipartisan bill to increase patients’ access to the life-saving overdose medication Naloxone and cosponsored theComprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. He is a member of the House Financial Services Committee.