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Blaine's Bulletin: Combating the Opioid Epidemic

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Washington, August 4, 2017 | comments
The opioid epidemic is real and every community across the country is impacted by it. Nationally, 44 American lives are lost each day to prescription opioid abuse and many Missourians have friends, neighbors, or family members who have been impacted by this crisis.
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The opioid epidemic is real and every community across the country is impacted by it. Nationally, 44 American lives are lost each day to prescription opioid abuse and many Missourians have friends, neighbors, or family members who have been impacted by this crisis.

This week, I traveled throughout the 3rd District and held roundtables with local officials, doctors, and individuals to discuss what more can be done to combat this epidemic. I started in Crystal City where I met with the Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Marshak, the Jefferson County Health Department, doctors and staff from Mercy Hospital Jefferson, and surrounding organizations. In Jefferson County, 68 individuals died of opioid or drug related overdoses in 2016. My staff and I will continue to get updated on a regular basis from county officials in Jefferson County as we work together to bring that number down.

Next, I went to the Community Health Center of Central Missouri in Jefferson City for a discussion on opioid abuse and behavioral health. There are fewer health-care professionals of all kinds in rural areas but community health centers are a great option to seek treatment and advice for all ages and individuals. Thank you to everyone who participated in this discussion including the Director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, Dr. Randall Williams, the Jefferson City Police Department,  the Director of Missouri’s Department of Mental Health, Mark Stringer, the Cole County Health Department, and the President and CEO of Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Brooks Miller. 

By bringing individuals throughout the health-care spectrum together, we are able to discuss what we can do in our communities to face this epidemic head on. I will be taking their notes and ideas back to Washington to share with my colleagues in the House.

Lastly, in the previous Congress, a very important bill was signed into law called the 21st Century Cures Act. This law streamlines the review of life-saving drugs and provides grants for states to supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment. I was a proud supporter of this legislation in the House of Representatives, and I was pleased to see it become a law.

While Congress has taken steps to address the opioid epidemic, it is clear that more must be done. Please know I will continue to meet with doctors, nurses, treatment professionals, law enforcement officers, and families to hear their stories and discuss what more can be done here at home and in Washington.

 

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2230 Rayburn HOB Washington, DC 20515 (202) 225-2956 tel (202) 225-5712 fax
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2117 Missouri Boulevard Jefferson City, Mo., 65109 (573) 635-7232 tel (573) 635-8347 fax
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113 East Pearce Boulevard Wentzville, Mo., 63385 (636) 327-7055 tel
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516 Jefferson St. Washington, MO 63090 (636) 239-2276 tel (636) 239-0478 fax
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