Following NC Opioid Crisis Tour, Walker Votes to Approve the Most Significant Congressional Action on Drug Epidemic in History
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, in a 396-14 vote:
"The opioid epidemic is the largest public health crisis in our country with one in four Americans being close to someone who is addicted to these drugs – myself included. After hearing from law enforcement, EMTs, addicts, recovery centers, state lawmakers and hospitals about the need for more resources during our opioid crisis tour in North Carolina, we are now answering back with the most expansive congressional effort in history. In 2016, nearly 2,000 North Carolinians had their opportunity-filled futures ended because of this problem, leaving countless family members grieving and hurt. These reforms will give hope to struggling families in North Carolina and let every person know they do not have to go through addiction alone, while stopping the flow of illicit drugs into our community."
The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act is a bipartisan bill that will help in our overall efforts to combat the opioid crisis by advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, improving prevention, protecting our communities, and bolstering our efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl. The legislation follows the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act last Congress, and represents the most significant congressional effort against a single drug crisis in history.
The reforms focus on treatment and recovery by improving and expanding access to treatment and recovery services and establishing comprehensive opioid recovery centers. It also helps prevent addictions by encouraging non-addictive opioid alternatives to treat pain and improving data to identify and help at-risk patients and families.
Additionally, the legislation gives local law enforcement tools to get dangerous drugs out of communities and to stop the importation of illicit and synthetic drugs.
In October 2017, Walker hosted a two-day, seven-stop opioid crisis tour across North Carolina to better understand the full scope of the opioid epidemic and to get a firsthand account of the realities, burdens, and struggles of opioid addiction in North Carolina. Many of the reforms in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act adhered to specific feedback Walker received from different organizations and sectors during the tour.
Read more about the Opioid Crisis Tour in a story in the Washington Examiner here.
As the story notes, "since 1999, opioid-related deaths in North Carolina have increased by 800 percent, nationwide drug overdoses now kill more Americans than gun homicides and car crashes combined."
You can learn more about the opioid epidemic and Walker's opioid crisis tour by watching the videos below:
You can read the full text of the legislation here.