CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - US Representative Richard Hudson, the Republican representing the 8th District of North Carolina, testified on Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of a bipartisan "Member Day" addressing the opioid crisis, according to a news release provided by his office.
The bipartisan Member Day allowed representatives to testify about the opioid epidemic, share local and personal stories, and highlight potential legislative solutions.
"Thank you Chairman Burgess and Ranking Member Green for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of my constituents," Hudson said. "As has been noted, the opioid epidemic is not an isolated issue. It's a nationwide issue and it deserves our attention. The New York Times noted last month that the opioid epidemic is killing more people per year right now than the HIV epidemic did at its peak in the nineties. These drugs do not discriminate based on gender, race, social class, or age and they destroy lives, families, marriages, and careers.
"In my home state of North Carolina, the opioid epidemic has really hit hard. North Carolina is home to four cities in the top 25 of worst cities affected by the crisis, one of which is in my district, Fayetteville, North Carolina. One particularly devastating story has stuck with me from a constituent I met while touring a treatment facility last year in my district. He was a police captain, and the son of a police chief in the same town, and he injured his back on the job and was prescribed an opioid following his surgery. He told me he vividly remembers the moment he became addicted the first time he took one of these medications. Within a year, he was a full blown heroin addict. He's since recovered and now mentors addicts through treatment. Unlike many stories, this is a story with a happy ending."
"Fayetteville is the home to soldiers and veterans who have become addicted after being prescribed opioids for injuries sustained in combat or in training. The tragedy is that the VA does not have enough inpatient beds to treat every veteran and so oftentimes veterans go without help and are forced to self-medicate by using opioids found on the black market. This is outrageous and it's unacceptable. We need to find real solutions so we can put an end to this heartbreak."
"I am proud to have worked last Congress with this Committee's investigation into opioid addiction which resulted in the passage of both the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures act. These laws have made huge steps forward in the treatment and prevention of opioid addiction, but it is clear we have work left to do. One idea I'm working on is expanding access to safe ways to dispose of prescription drugs, particularly opioids. DisposeRX is a company in my district that manufactures a powder that mixes with water inside the pill bottle and renders any unused opioids not only inaccessible and inextricable, but also bio-degradable. It's innovative ideas like this that we need to explore and I look forward to working with colleagues on the Committee to help treat and prevent this opioid addiction."
"It doesn't matter where you live – the opioid crisis has a significant negative impact on every American community," said Dr. Michael Burgess. (R-TX) "I hope fellow House members will join us in elucidating the challenges our family members, friends, and neighbors are facing in the midst of this epidemic. Now more than ever, we must come together and strengthen our efforts to fight this heartbreaking malady."