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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Representing the 12th District of Michigan

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Dingell, Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Release Legislative Agenda for 2018

January 10, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today joined colleagues on the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force to announce the legislative agenda for 2018. The agenda includes commonsense, bipartisan legislation to address the opioid epidemic by supporting prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement efforts. 

Included in the agenda is Jessie’s Law, bipartisan legislation introduced by Dingell and Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07), named after Michigan resident Jessie Grubb who tragically died of an opioid overdose in March 2016. The legislation would help ensure doctors have access to a consenting patient’s prior history of addiction in order to make fully informed care and treatment decisions. Providing this information would help prevent cases like Jessie’s, where a recovering addict in Ann Arbor was unknowingly prescribed and discharged with a powerful opioid that led to her death. 

“The opioid crisis has touched nearly every family across this country,” said Dingell. “My father suffered from an opioid addiction much of his life and we lost my sister to a drug overdose almost 13 years ago. I know the constant ache of losing someone you love to the scourge of addiction, and believe we have a responsibility to confront this epidemic for families like Jessie’s. As someone who has experienced firsthand all spectrums of this issue, I believe this bill is an important step in developing effective strategies to protect families and save lives. Combatting the opioid crisis transcends politics, and it is my hope that Congress will act quickly to enact Jessie’s Law and these bipartisan proposals to end this deadly epidemic.”    

Full details of the legislative agenda are available here

The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force is led by Representatives Tom MacArthur (NJ-03), Annie Kuster (NH-02), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), and Donald Norcross (NJ-01).

“As we begin the New Year, the Bipartisan Task Force remains even more committed to fighting the opioid epidemic that has ravaged so many communities and families across the country,” said Congressman Tom MacArthur, co-chair of the Task Force. “Our agenda represents the important balance of showing compassion for those suffering with substance abuse, while stopping the flow of drugs into our neighborhoods. It’s a crucial step in this fight.  Since its creation, the Bipartisan Task Force has grown to 100 members and has been able to successfully advocate against drastic cuts to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and, shape and advance CARA and the 21st Century Cures Act through Congress. We will continue to build on these accomplishments and stand together in our fight against substance abuse.”  

"The opioid epidemic has had a serious impact on communities and families throughout New Hampshire, but no corner of the country has been untouched," said Congresswoman Kuster, the founder and co-chair of the Task Force. "The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force represents 100 Members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, who are standing together to take real action to stem the tide of this crisis. Our Task Force has successfully pushed for action in Congress to address the opioid epidemic. The agenda we're outlining today comprises bipartisan, commonsense solutions that will improve prevention, expand access to treatment and recovery services, and bolster support for law enforcement. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance these proposals."

“In 2016, more than 42,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose, including dozens right here in our community,” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, vice-chair of the Task Force. “It’s clear this epidemic is destroying lives and costing our nation precious resources. While our Task Force has taken great strides in increasing awareness of, and providing legislative solutions to, opioid addiction, there is still work to be done. Fighting back against this epidemic requires the clear, bipartisan approach outlined in this agenda; one that responds to the real-world concerns expressed by local lawmakers, community leaders and healthcare professionals across the country who endeavor to tackle this crisis each day.” 

“The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force continues to stand together offering commonsense legislative solutions to curb the opioid epidemic because one preventable death is too many,” said Congressman Donald Norcross, vice-chair of the Task Force. “In New Jersey, deaths from heroin and fentanyl overdoses more than tripled in the last five years. That’s tragic and unacceptable. We must invest time, effort and money to save lives. Every delay means we’ll lose another child, grandchild, friend or neighbor to the disease of addiction.”