WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers and U.S. Rep Nick Rahall announced the relaunch of the bi-partisan Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse.
The goal of the caucus is to raise awareness of abuse and to develop innovative and effective treatment, prevention, law enforcement and research policy solutions in the federal sphere.
Rogers and Rahall will serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse.
“In Kentucky, the prescription drug abuse problem casts a dark shadow over our close-knit communities, particularly targeting our young people,” said Rogers. “Today, this drug problem not only affects my congressional district, but has magnified in scope and intensity, cross-cutting geographical and socio-economic boundaries, hitting communities across the country. As lawmakers began to recognize the scope and devastation of this scourge, the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse was launched in 2009 to help unite legislators and interested parties in preventing the misuse of powerful narcotics. With the help of Congressman Rahall, I am confident that solutions are within reach and that we can continue to make a difference in Washington in this battle against prescription drug abuse.”
“Every day in southern West Virginia, news stories confront us about the vicious cycle prescription drugs wreak upon on our communities: crime, child neglect, overdoses, death, and whole families torn apart,” said Rahall. “We are traveling a difficult and challenging path to save an entire generation of Americans, but working with my friend, Congressman Rogers, and the commitment of our colleagues in Congress for action on a national level, our goal is to explore, develop and expand solutions to conquer the problem of prescription drug abuse. This may be the biggest challenge of our society, and the only way this destructive trend can be reversed is if everyone — I mean, everyone — gets involved. Our nation’s future — our children’s and grandchildren’s future — hangs in the balance.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), the number of emergency room visits from prescription drug abuse has nearly doubled in America over the last five years.
Equally troubling, there has been a staggering 400 percent increase over the past decade in the number of hospital admissions for prescription drug abuse.
Clearly, this is a growing and alarming trend which is impacting people of all ages, but it creates additional problems for our children and their families.
In the 112th Congress, nearly three dozen members the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse worked across the aisle to raise awareness of the problem nationwide and to help develop effective policy solutions. Of note, members of the Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus rallied behind initiatives to support prescription data sharing across state lines; participated in a congressional panel at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit hosted by Operation UNITE in Orlando; engaged high-ranking officials in the Administration on the prescription drug epidemic through hearings, letters and briefings; and introduced legislation to keep crushable generic pain pills from flooding the streets and a bill to require continuing education for prescribers of powerful narcotics.
Members also worked to secure federal funding for programs that address the issue of prescription drug abuse holistically, such as drug courts, prevention and treatment initiatives, support for collaboration among federal, state and local law enforcement, and vital research programs aimed at reducing the prescription drug abuse epidemic.