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Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler

Representing the 4th District of Missouri
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Hartzler Praises House Passage of Opioid Package

September 28, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) praised House passage of a comprehensive opioid package to advance treatment and recovery, improve prevention, protect communities, and bolster efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl. The bill contained multiple provisions the House worked on and passed over the summer.

 

“In the past year, 11.8 million people misused opioids,” Hartzler said. “Legislation to combat this crisis cannot come too soon. I think about young people from Missouri like Samantha Huntley, who got hooked on heroin the first time and sadly lost her life to an overdose. This epidemic is impacting real lives and devastating real families. We must address this crisis now before more lives are lost.”

 

The legislation expands the capacity of inpatient mental health facilities to treat substance abuse and it expands Medicaid and Medicare coverage for addiction treatment. Additionally, it authorizes programs to treat infants who are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. “Recovery is a big part of this crisis,” Hartzler said, “but it’s not the only part. We must also address prevention, so we can stop addiction before it ever begins.”

 

To this end, Hartzler co-sponsored the STOP Act, which was included in the opioid package to help prevent the shipment of synthetic opioids into the United States through the international mail system. “We also included measures in the bill to better coordinate care to avoid prescribing opioids to individuals who have a history of opioid addiction.” said Hartzler, who hosted 13 high school assemblies to share with students in her district the devastating effects of drug addiction. “The bill also expanded the use of telehealth to treat substance abuse,” she added.

 

In addition, the House and Congresswoman Hartzler passed a funding bill earlier this week that directs $6.7 billion to address substance use and mental health, including $1.5 billion in state opioid response grants and $120,000,000 for the Rural Communities Opioids Response Program. She also established a Drug-Free Missouri initiative several years ago to take action against the drug crisis in Missouri. Through her initiative, she has helped counties establish Drug Recovery Courts, supported local law enforcement, and worked with community leaders to shore up local anti-drug efforts. In conjunction with her high school assemblies, she created a packet of local resources that are available to individuals or their loved ones who are suffering from drug addiction. During the last session of Congress, Congresswoman Hartzler also voted for the 21st Century Cures Act, which directed $20 million to the Show Me State to respond to the opioid crisis, and earlier this summer she voted for a total of more than 45 pieces of legislation to address the opioid crisis.

  

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Interested members of the media may contact Anna Swick at anna.swick@mail.house.gov