Washington, D.C. -- This week, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) and her colleagues in the House passed dozens of bills to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic facing the North Country and communities around the country. Click here to watch Congresswoman Stefanik speak on the House floor in support of these efforts.

Kristyna Mills, Jefferson County District Attorney: “The best approach to address the opioid epidemic currently gripping this country is three-pronged: educational efforts for prevention, treatment and increased law enforcement to punish those that prey on our addicted population.  This bill package attacks all three prongs and I applaud the Congresswoman for her leadership role and her support of this important legislation.”

Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill: “I applaud Congresswoman Stefanik for her leadership on this issue. The bills coming before Congress address many of the needs associated with this crisis including:  alternative pain management, education and prevention of addiction along with treatment and recovery for those that have become addicted.  There is no single silver bullet that will bring this crisis to an end but the tools being supplied by the proposed legislation will go a long way in slowing down this epidemic “

Ashley Livingston, in recovery and Co-Chair, Friends of Recovery Warren and Washington: “I support and am very pleased with the House Opioid Package. The multifaceted approach Congress is taking with this package of bills is what is needed to combat the current pandemic we're in.  It addresses prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, recovery supports, child welfare, veterans, and law enforcement; along with including bills specifically for research to be done on substance use disorders so that we are using the most current and best practices to prevent and treat SUD's, as well as the best practices for the continuum of care. I am especially happy to see H.R. 5261, which will increase education for health professionals on substance use disorders -- this has been and continues to be a big need. This package is an amazing follow up to C.A.R.A. There is still a lot more that needs to be done but this is a step in the right direction. I am pleased to see the House understands this urgency as evidenced by the creative, bipartisan proposals currently under consideration, and I thank members in both parties for treating addiction like the disease that it is and for working so hard so that fewer lives are lost to substance use disorder.”

Stephen Jennings, Chairman, Jefferson County Alliance for Better Communities: “Passage of federal legislation to address the opioid crisis in our country and in our district, is crucial to stopping the expensive and emotional cycle of opioid addiction, overdoses and overdose deaths that so many of our citizens and families are grappling with.  Congresswoman Stefanik understands how complex an issue the opioid crisis is, and as a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, has cosponsored and supported successful legislation that addresses this challenging issue on multiple fronts.  Increased prevention and public awareness efforts, particularly regarding the growth and types of synthetic drugs, will educate parents and providers on the associated health effects.  Loan repayment for individuals who agree to work as substance use disorder treatment professionals in areas of the nation most in need, particularly rural areas like the North Country, will increase crucially needed treatment capacities.   Ensuring quality access to sober living so that individuals can successfully maintain achieved sobriety and transition to healthy life will greatly reduce relapse and increase productive independence.  These pieces of legislation, combined with many other proposals put forth by the Task Force members, are absolutely critical in supporting our work at the grassroots level to control this epidemic in homes and schools, in churches and workplaces, in health care settings, and on our streets.”

Linda Beers and Kathy Sprague – ECHO Co-Chairs: “ECHO has, for the past three years, identified and pursued strategies and implementation in the areas of prevention, prevention treatment, and recovery through a community based partnership and mobilization. Together we applaud the efforts of comprehensively strengthening the framework to address the complex nature of this crisis, and support legislation that commits resources to ending the opioid epidemic."

Anita Seefried-Brown, Project Director, Alliance for Better Communities: “The Alliance for Better Communities welcomes Congresswoman Stefanik’s support of passing a comprehensive packet of bills designed to improve the lives of people suffering from opioid addictions.  Funding these bills will positively impact research and development of medical advances to more effectively identify, treat, and support people with opioid addictions, strengthening the continuum from prevention to recovery; supporting family members of addicted loved ones, the economy, and the health and safety of affected communities; and reducing stigma which often prevents people with addiction and their family members from seeking help.

“The Mortality in the United States, 2016 NCHS Data Brief No. 293, issued in December 2017, estimated that in 2016 the prevailing epidemic resulted in 116 deaths daily as a result of opioid-related overdoses. A report issued by the Council of Economic Advisers in November 2017 estimated the 2015 economic impact of the opioid crisis as $504 billion: $72.3 billion for substance abuse treatment, criminal justice, and reduced productivity and $431.7 billion in fatality costs. 

“Again, we applaud Congresswoman Stefanik’s efforts in helping create compassionate communities responsive to the needs of people with addictions as well as their friends and family members, thus positively impacting the entire community.”