Washington, D.C.– Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) joined a bipartisan group of her House colleagues to speak on the need to address the heroin and opioid epidemic impacting New York’s 21st District and communities across the country. This week, Congresswoman Stefanik will be helping the House advance a series of measures aimed at combating this problem. Below is a transcript of Congresswoman Stefanik’s remarks on the House floor, or for video, click here.

Over the last fifteen years, heroin-related deaths have quadrupled, leaving families and communities across this country shattered.

This crisis has been felt acutely in my district where the region is a major pipeline for illicit drug trafficking.

Last November, law enforcement in Washington County, New York, made eleven arrests in one morning of individuals illegally selling heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs.

In New York’s North Country, I have seen and heard from those in recovery and those still struggling that heroin addiction and prescription drug abuse is a life-long challenge.

In my district, heroin addiction tragedies have caused parents to bury their children, left spouses widowed and young children parentless. 

These drugs reach out and impact even the strongest members of our communities. Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate.

The support offered by treatment centers like St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center in Saranac Lake is critical to those who suffer from this disease.

Several veterans who I had the opportunity to visit with at St. Joseph’s have seen the harsh reality of war and are now fighting battles at home: one against heroin and opioid addiction, and another against Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Heroin abuse touches our communities, our homes and our families in ways that have grave effects on everyday people and everyday lives. 

As heroin use has increased, police departments across this nation have seen a rapid rise in related crimes, such as sex trafficking, domestic disputes, larceny, burglary and prostitution -- all tied to heroin-use.

This week I’m honored to stand with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to advance legislative solutions to this widespread and insidious crisis.

As a member of Representatives Guinta and Kuster’s Bipartisan Task Force to combat heroin abuse and assist law enforcement efforts, we have worked tirelessly to find solutions.

The legislation we present this week provides critical tools to medical personnel and law enforcement for stemming the flow of drugs and enhancing treatment options and availability.

These are real problems that need to be addressed through innovation, cooperation and thoughtful action.

I am confident we can secure a better, heroin free future for our nation’s children.

These efforts are not the end of the House’s work on this issue— we will continue to seek innovative solutions to this crisis that has touched families across my district and across our nation.

On behalf of the families, communities and veterans in New York’s 21st Congressional District and across the country, I urge my colleagues to join those of us here tonight as we work to eliminate the heroin epidemic facing this country.