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U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito: Important steps taken to end prescription drug abuse, heroin use

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) issued the following statement after attending President Obama’s community discussion in Charleston, West Virginia Wednesday about the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic in America:
President Obama also announced new public and private sector efforts to address this epidemic. Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), who visited West Virginia with Senator Capito earlier this year for a drug prevention roundtable, and West Virginia native and Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell also attended today’s event.
“I appreciate President Obama traveling to West Virginia today to address a devastating problem – the growing drug epidemic harming our communities, families and loved ones – and raise needed attention about the issues facing the Mountain State. Several of the efforts announced by the administration today enjoy bipartisan support and are important steps to end prescription drug abuse and heroin use, improve access to treatment and stem this mounting public health concern.

“Over the past several months, I have worked with local communities, law enforcement, health professionals and others to develop a spectrum of solutions to curb this epidemic and am pleased we have a partner in the White House on this issue. While we still have a long road ahead, I am encouraged that with ongoing efforts in Congress and the new efforts announced by the administration today, we can make meaningful strides toward a drug-free West Virginia.”

 

Since joining the Senate, Senator Capito has worked to bring more attention and resources to the table to tackle West Virginia’s drug epidemic. Below is a timeline of Senator Capito’s efforts to curb drug abuse:

 

  • February 5, 2015:Introduced the Stop Drugs at the Border Act of 2015with Senator Donnelly (D-Ind.) to combat increased heroin and methamphetamine trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico Border.

 

  • March 19, 2015:Co-sponsored the Protecting our Infants Act of 2015, which requires the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to report on prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome.

 

  • March 23, 2015:Co-sponsored the Opioid Overdose Reduction Act of 2015to protect first responders, health professionals and family members who are educated in administering an opioid overdose prevention drug in an emergency situation of overdose.

 

  • April 15, 2015:Joined with Senate colleagues to introduce the FDA Accountability for Public Safety Act, which holds the FDA accountable for opioid drugs approved.

 

  • April 27, 2015:Hosted a Drug Prevention Summit in Martinsburg with National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program Director Michael Gottlieb and Washington-Baltimore HIDTA Director Tom Carr to discuss solutions for combatting drug abuse. Tom Carr called the summit an “eye-opening experience” and pledged to look into the region’s lack of treatment facilities and other solutions.

 

  • May 1, 2015:Penned an op-ed for the Martinsburg Journal highlighting the lessons learned – primarily the need for substance abuse treatment facilities – and next steps following the Drug Prevention Summit.

 

  • May 20, 2015:Sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for the reinstatement of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days given their successful track record reducing the prescription drug supply.

 

  • July 9, 2015:Met with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg and discussed the state of the drug issue, as well as reinstating Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

 

  • June 12, 2015:Convened White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Michael Botticelli and local drug prevention experts for a roundtable at West Virginia University.

 

  • June 22, 2015:Introduced the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act, bipartisan VA reform legislation aimed at providing safer and more effective pain management services to veterans.

 

  • June 23, 2015:Spoke on the Senate floor about reforming the overreliance on painkillers by the VA and urging support for the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act.

 

  • July 22, 2015:Sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calling for guidance to state Medicaid directors to remove methadone from preferred drug lists for pain management.

 

  • July 24, 2015:As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voted to pass the FY2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill, which includes $245 million for the HIDTA program.

 

  • July 28, 2015:Announced DEA’s reinstatement of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

 

  • August 17, 2015:Following Director Botticelli’s visit to West Virginia, applauded new funding announced for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) across the country, including $400,000 for the Appalachia HIDTA, which includes West Virginia. An additional $2.5 million was also announced to establish an unprecedented Heroin Response Strategy among five regional programs – Appalachia, New England, Philadelphia/Camden, New York/New Jersey.

 

  • September 26, 2015:Participated in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Charleston.

 

  • October 1, 2015:Announced the completion of an in-depth analysis by the Washington-Baltimore HIDTA detailing the magnitude of heroin addiction in Berkeley County. The assessment is a result of the Drug Prevention Summit hosted in Martinsburg in April.

 

  • October 7, 2015:Questioned National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow about prescription drug and heroin prevalence in Appalachia during a Senate Appropriations hearing.

 

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