Valley Congressman leads the charge for more funding to fight dr - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley Congressman leads the charge for more funding to fight drug abuse

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Congressman Tim Ryan is leading a bipartisan coalition of 23 members of Congress calling on President Donald Trump to include full funding of $9.3 billion to fight the opioid and prescription drug epidemic in the United States.

Ryan is the co-chair of the Congressional Addiction Treatment and Recovery Caucus. 

"This epidemic is costing our nation $700 billion nationally in health, crime and lost productivity costs, but that is nothing compared to the toll it is taking on our families and friends. In my state of Ohio, drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death. We cannot continue to allow heroin and prescription drugs to reap havoc on our communities. It is time for President Trump to do the right thing and provide the money needed to put an end to this horrible epidemic," said Congressman Ryan.

Ryan's letter to the White House is as follows:

Dear President Trump: 

We are writing to provide you an update and express our support for the current infrastructure that Congress has built to combat our nation’s ongoing heroin and prescription drug epidemic. Through bipartisan work Congress has responded to the overwhelming stress addiction has placed on our communities with 34 key programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of Justice that tackle substance abuse, including the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act that you strongly supported throughout your campaign. This structure provides law enforcement resources, prevention, treatment, recovery support, overdose reversal and criminal justice initiatives. The $9.3 billion included in these programs may seem like a large investment, but is our base line of defense in responding to addiction which costs the United States $700 billion annually.

In 2015, drug overdose deaths continued to climb to more than 52,000; by comparison, 38,000 people died due to automobile accidents in 2015. Opioid were the main driver of overdose deaths, accounting for more than 33,000 fatalities. There is no question that heroin and opioid addiction ruins lives, disrupts families and contributes to destabilizing our neighborhoods.

Communities in our districts continue to struggle to respond to the opioid epidemic. Local government officials, hospitals, teachers, law enforcement, child service agencies, judges, and advocates all have the same message – they need help and they need more funding. 

Level funding for these programs would continue the progress our communities are making in tackling this ongoing epidemic and increase their resources so they have the services necessary to help the men and women battling this disease. 

You called for passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and said, “we will give the people struggling with addiction access to the help they need.” As your Administration works to prepare the upcoming Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, funding for a comprehensive approach to tackling the opioid epidemic, including prevention treatment, law enforcement strategies, overdose reversal, recovery support, and criminal justice is the next step. 

The numbers do not lie. This problem is only getting worse. We must act now. We stand ready to continue this critical funding, which will provide our communities the resources necessary to not only prevent addiction, but create access to treatment and recovery to save lives. 

As your administration works to prepare a budget, we hope it will keep these commitments in mind.  We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH)

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH)

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH)

Rep. Thomas Rooney (R-FL)

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-CT)

Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA)

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)

Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO)

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA)

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN)

Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA)

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH)

Rep. José Serrano (D-NY)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL)

Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA)

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)

Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-MI)

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY)

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