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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Representing the 12th District of Michigan

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Dingell, Walberg Introduce Bipartisan ‘Jessie’s Law’ to Combat Opioid Epidemic

April 29, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) joined Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07) in introducing “Jessie’s Law,” a bipartisan bill named after Michigan resident Jessie Grubb who tragically died earlier this year of an opioid overdose. Jessie’s Law 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.

“As one who has witnessed firsthand all spectrums of this issue, I believe this bill is one of the most important steps we can take in developing effective strategies to address this issue and save lives,” said Congresswoman Dingell. “My father suffered from opioid addiction much of his life and my sister died from a drug overdose. I know the horrible pain of living with a family member with addiction and the sadness you never get over of losing a loved one to the terrible scourge of addiction. In all of our discussions in seeking solutions, we must educate and prevent abuse but at the same time not stigmatize those with real and legitimate needs. Jessie’s Law does exactly that. It provides information to the treating physician and other medical professionals so they have an accurate picture to treat the patient safely and effectively.”

“As a father of three, I cannot fathom the immense pain of losing a child and my heartfelt condolences are with the Grubb family. Too many families in Michigan and across America have seen lives swept up by addiction and we must act now to reverse this tragic trend. With Jessie’s Law, we are taking another important, bipartisan, step to confront this epidemic and help save lives in our communities,” said Congressman Walberg.

“It is an honor to introduce Jessie’s Law in the U.S. House of Representatives. Jessie Grubb’s story is especially heartbreaking because her death could have been prevented. Simply providing medical professionals with this vital information we can prevent the unnecessary deaths of so many,” said Congressman Alex X. Mooney.

Living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Jessie Grubb was in recovery and getting her life back on track after seven years of struggling with addiction. Due to a hip injury while training for a marathon, Jessie underwent surgery in late February. Jessie’s parents informed hospital personnel that she was a recovering addict, but that message never made it to the doctor who discharged her. Jessie left with a prescription for 50 oxycodone pills and fatally overdosed that same night.

Original co-sponsors of the bill include: Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), David McKinley (R-WV), John Moolenaar (R-MI), and Alex X. Mooney (R-WV).

Jessie’s Law was introduced earlier this week in the U.S. Senate by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) with the help of Jessie’s parents from West Virginia, David and Kate Grubb.