Providing for Consideration of S. 524, Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016by Representative Suzanne Bonamici
Posted on 2016-05-13
BONAMICI. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the critical legislative efforts on the House floor this week to begin fighting the opioid crisis--an addiction crisis that has swept our country. There is much more work to be done to combat this epidemic. This is an encouraging start, but we must do more.
Too many communities in Oregon and across the Nation have seen the destruction that is caused by addiction, and too many have experienced the heartbreak of losing a child, a neighbor, a friend, or other loved one to overdose. Last year, just in Portland, Oregon, there were an average of two opioid deaths per week.
I think about Kerri, who is a mom from Knappa, in northwest Oregon. She lost her son, Jordan, after a 7-year struggle. Jordan's addiction began when he had a football injury in high school, and his doctor prescribed Vicodin. My own family has not been immune to this devastation. My brilliant and talented sister-in-law, Valerie, struggled with chronic pain and struggled in her life with the many, many opioids that were way too available. She relied on them to dull that pain until she lost her life a few years ago.
Countless families and doctors and nurses and public safety officers have all pleaded with us here in Congress to please act, to please save families from this loss and heartbreak.
I am glad we have come together today to answer this call, but these are only the first steps. Healthcare and treatment providers must have the resources they need to effectively curtail opioid abuse and addiction, and that means robust funding and better research and better education. We have all stood on this floor today and called this an epidemic. Let's treat it as such. Let's continue building on this progress.
I thank the chairman and the ranking member for their leadership.