Washington, D.C.– Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Congresswoman Susan Wild (PA-07) offered a bipartisan amendment to the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to provide additional resources to wounded servicemembers and improve resources available to prevent and treat opioid use across Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania has seen firsthand the devastation of the opioid crisis, an epidemic that does not discriminate,” Fitzpatrick said. “Members of our armed services recovering from injuries received in defense of our nation should have the most effective resources to prevent and treat addiction. I appreciate Congresswoman Wild’s leadership on this amendment, which protects those who have protected us.”
“At every level and from every angle, it is critical that we build a culture of compassion and treatment around this crisis,” Wild said. “Our servicemembers face unique challenges in many aspects of life – made only more challenging and painful when suffering and recovering from an injury, leaving them vulnerable to addiction. By building and expanding these partnerships we can help raise addiction awareness and promote prevention, as well as provide the proper resources to folks most at risk and in need. I am proud to put forward this amendment to help focus our efforts on prevention and better protecting the servicemembers who dedicate their lives to protecting all of us.”
The NDAA authorizes the funding needed for a strong, smart national defense strategy. This authorization act for FY 2020 lays out our priorities to defend our nation, protect our interests abroad, and support our troops. This amendment would require the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs to establish a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) and partner with Academic Health Centers to focus on the unique challenges wounded servicemembers experience. Emphasis should be placed on research that reduces dependency on opioids, develops novel pain management and mental health strategies, and leverages partnerships with industry and medical device manufacturers to advance promising technologies for wounded servicemembers.