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Pallone Celebrates Passage of Legislation to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

December 19, 2016
Press Release

LONG BRANCH, NJ – Today at the Damon House in New Brunswick, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) celebrated the passage of provision in the 21st Century Cures Act, which provides $1 billion over two years to combat the opioid epidemic. Last Week, Pallone joined President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House for the signing of the legislation.

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“Opioid abuse affects everyone – people of every faith, every ethnicity, every sexual orientation, and every background,” said Pallone. “They are our friends, family, and neighbors. This legislation allows our communities to strengthen our defenses against the opioid epidemic that has impacted so many of us.”

Earlier this year, Congressman Pallone led successful Democratic efforts to pass and secure enactment of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a law that improves the tools available to prescribers to prevent opioid abuse. CARA expands access to lifesaving naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, and expands access to evidence-based treatments that help individuals with opioid use disorders enter recovery.

In New Jersey, more than 184,000 individuals have been admitted to substance abuse treatment facilities for heroin or opioid abuse since 2010 and more than 5,000 have died from heroin-related deaths since 2004.  The CDC recently published a report indicating that heroin deaths increased by 20.6 percent between 2014 and 2015. Deaths from synthetic opioids are increasing at a rapid rate, rising 72.2 percent during the same time period.

In January, Pallone held a press conference at Damon House to stress the urgency of Congress acting on these important issues. Damon House Inc. was formed to establish, operate and maintain a residential and outpatient program for those suffering with substance abuse disorder and drug dependence and to rehabilitate those persons.  In addition it was formed to encourage people with substance abuse disorder to seek treatment and to aid them in independent living.

Last week, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law – his last public bill signing in office.  Under the legislation, $1 billion will be allocated to fighting the opioid epidemic by providing grants to states to supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities like improving prescription drug monitoring programs, implementing prevention activities, training for health providers and expanding access to opioid treatment and recovery programs.  This fills a funding gap that Democrats tried unsuccessfully to include in CARA. 

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