Freshman Congressman testifies in front of House Appropriations Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, testified in front of the House Appropriations subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Commerce, Justice, Science to urge appropriate funding authorized by CARA and the 21st Century Cures Act that will help communities combat the opioid epidemic.
“From Levittown to Lower Salford, no part of my district is left unaffected. Last year in Bucks County, opioid related deaths rose by 50 percent. In neighboring Montgomery County, opioid overdoses claimed a staggering 240 lives – up 36-percent from the previous year,” said Fitzpatrick.
“Thoughtfully designed, CARA utilizes a balanced strategy encompassing six pillars: prevention, treatment, recovery support, criminal justice reform, overdose reversal, and law enforcement. In addition to CARA, the 21st Century Cures Act also contained funding to combat the opioid epidemic. Specifically, the remaining $500 million would supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities by providing funding for states to improve prescription drug monitoring programs, implement prevention activities, train healthcare providers, and expand access to treatment programs.
“As a member of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus and member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, I strongly urge this subcommittee to fully fund HHS opioid related activities.”
In his testimony, Fitzpatrick also referenced local law enforcement officials and first responders who have tirelessly worked to save lives. Specifically, he highlighted the work of the Bensalem Police Department as well as Diane Rosati of the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission who recently reported that Bucks County police departments have saved over 263 residents through naloxone, an opioid overdose emergency treatment.
“While the number of lives saved from accidental overdose is amazing number, it speaks to the magnitude of the issue and need for treatment follow through,” said Rosati.
Other members of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, including Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), Congressman Tom MacArthur (NJ-03), and Congressman Patrick Meehan (PA-07) also testified before relevant House Appropriations subcommittees on appropriating these funds.
In addition to opioid addiction funding, Fitzpatrick also advocated for full funding of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).