END THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC
Last year, 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, nearly two-thirds from prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids. In Rhode Island, there were 336 drug overdose deaths, which is an average of over six deaths per week.
Addiction is not a partisan issue. As Rhode Island’s U.S. Senator, I will work with state officials and all stakeholders to enact a no-nonsense plan to subdue the nation’s opioid epidemic. My five-point plan includes the following:
– Reverse legislation that Senator Whitehouse sponsored that enabled opioid distributors to reap enormous profits and operate with impunity at the public’s expense by effectively gutting the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) power to pursue Big Pharma and wholesalers who are flooding the market with these addictive drugs.
– Save lives by enhancing treatment and recovery services to ensure that first responders and emergency rooms have adequate supplies of medicine that can save the lives of people who overdosed on opioids.
– Provide resources for cutting-edge research and addiction management to advance procedures for pain management and mandate that medical and pharmacy students receive training in preventing opioid misuse.
– Promote an aggressive public-engagement campaign to enhance the understanding and awareness about opioid use, as has been done with other public health emergencies.
– Support mental health education in middle schools and high schools, to encourage early awareness and treatment of mental health issues that could lead to addiction.
If we are to defeat the opioid epidemic, Congress must fund use-prevention, treatment, and enforcement programs at scale. I will champion that effort.