News from Representative Elizabeth Esty

          

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February 17, 2016

Dear Friend,

Last year, 723 people in Connecticut died from an opioid or heroin overdose. This epidemic has taken the lives of our family members, our co-workers, and our neighbors. We all likely know at least one of the 2 million Americans who are estimated to be addicted to heroin or opioids. During my time in Congress, I’ve advocated for increased beds in drug treatment centers. I’ve advocated for expanded availability of drug therapies, like Methadone or Suboxone, that help patients wean off of opioids or heroin. And I’ve advocated for increased access to Narcan, a life-saving drug that reverses the effects of opioid and heroin overdoses. We’ve made gains in many of these areas to save lives. But while our efforts to increase access to drug treatment programs and to prevent drug overdoses are important, we must also do more to prevent folks from becoming addicted to opioids and heroin in the first place and to stop this public health emergency.

At my roundtable discussions in Waterbury, Torrington, and New Britain on heroin and opioid addiction, families, public safety officers, mental health experts, and public health officials shared very personal and devastating stories with me about addiction. Through these conversations and others throughout the district, it became clearer to me that a comprehensive solution to addressing this disease must include prevention.

As your Member of Congress, I am committed to doing all I can to prevent future addictions. That means talking with physicians about changing their prescribing practices and utilizing alternative forms of pain management. That means working with drug companies and prescribers to help educate patients how to identify addiction and how to safely wean off of an opioid when opioid prescriptions are necessary. That even means having hard conversations with parents, coaches, and student athletes about how treating sports injuries with opioids can quickly lead to opioid dependency. 

All of us have a role to play in finding solutions to this growing crisis. As a member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, I will continue to work tirelessly with my colleagues to address the nationwide public health crisis surrounding opioid and heroin addiction that has grown so dramatically in such a short amount of time. If you, a friend, or your family needs help dealing with the ravages of opioid or heroin addiction, please reach out to me and my office at 860-223-8412. Each life lost from an opioid or heroin overdose is one life too many. Together we can help save lives.

Sincerely,


Elizabeth Esty
Member of Congress

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