Walker on Passage of Opioid Crisis Legislation: "It’s Time to Turn These Tragic Tales Into Stories of Triumph and Opportunity"
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) today released the following statement after the House passed the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 6, Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, in a 393-8 vote:
"Far too often, as I visit with communities across North Carolina, I hear heart-wrenching stories of towns plagued with addiction, families torn by drug dependence and remembrances of loved ones lost to overdoses. It’s time to turn these tragic tales into stories of triumph and opportunity. Together, through expanding access to proven treatments, a tough hand stopping the flow of drugs and a compassionate approach to ensure families aren’t fighting this alone, we can overcome the opioid crisis and bring hope to struggling communities."
The changes to the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act are bipartisan and bicameral. The Senate is expected to quickly pass the measure and send it to President Donald J. Trump's desk. This bill 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.
You can read the full text of the legislation here.
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 Walker's 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."
This month, Walker released a five-part video series called "A Haven of Hope" on the opioid crisis, the work of Hannah's Haven – an addiction recovery center for women, and congressional action. You can find each of the videos here.
A Haven of Hope: Living with Addiction – Part One
A Haven of Hope: Finding Hope in Hannah's Haven – Part Two
A Haven of Hope: The North Carolina Opioid Crisis Tour – Part Three
A Haven of Hope: The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act – Part Four
A Haven of Hope: A Bright Future Ahead – Part Five