U.S. Rep. McSally: Opioid Addiction is Tearing Our Communities Apart
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Representative Martha McSally today released the following statement after the Administration declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency:
“Opioid addiction is a nationwide epidemic that’s tearing our communities apart. Prescription painkillers, the very ones sitting in home medicine cabinets and on bathroom counters, are killing thousands of Americans each year. Although their use often starts out harmlessly, these powerfully addictive substances are abused by 6.5 millions of Americans each year and cause more deaths than car accidents. We have felt this acutely in my district in Southern Arizona—Pima County had an overdose rate almost twice as high as any other county in Arizona. When the prescriptions run out or can’t be found, these addicts then turn to illegal drugs. Over 80 percent of heroin users started out on prescription opioids.
I applaud the Administration for calling our nationwide opioid epidemic what it really is: a public health emergency. Today’s announcement is a necessary step—but it cannot be the final one. Congress and the President must work together to combat this emergency from all sides. I have and will continue to find legislative solutions to interrupt this deadly cycle and halt its spread.”
On June 5, 2017, Governor Doug Ducey declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency in Arizona following the release of data showing that overdose deaths in the state increased by an alarming 74 percent over the past four years.
Congresswoman McSally spearheaded legislation included in the 21st Century Cures Act, which, paired with the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act that she supported, will provide grants, give treatment and prevention, and support law enforcement in communities around the nation to combat this crisis. In May 2017, she voted for an increase of $781 million for fighting the opioid epidemic.