Everyday 129 families lose a loved one to a drug overdose. That’s like a Boeing 727 losing all of its passengers on a daily. Unacceptable right? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 129 Americans on average died from a drug overdose every day in 2014. Of the 47,055 drug overdose deaths in 2014, heroin was involved in 10,574 drug overdose deaths, while opioid analgesics were involved in 20,808 drug overdose deaths. The ever growing and quickly moving drug epidemic in America is treatable. Washington DC Patch recently covered the emotional event of families pouring their hearts out to Congress, asking for help.May 18th and 19th, Partnership families gathered in Washington, D.C. to meet with their members of Congress, to discuss how addiction shatters families, and why resources to address this chronic disease are desperately needed in every community. Four weeks ago, Emmett Scannell, a sophomore at Worcester State University on a full academic scholarship, died of a heroin overdose. “We never would have thought that heroin would come into his life and steal him from us,” said Scannell’s mother, Aimee D’Arpino. “But it did, just six weeks after entering college.”Because of medical privacy laws, D’Arpino wasn’t notified of the seven overdoses Scannell had suffered – and survived — over an 18 month period. She says he got a “quick, spin-dry detox” in the emergency rooms he ended up in but couldn’t access real treatment because his insurance company said it wasn’t “medically necessary. “Had he gotten treatment — had she had all the information — would he still be alive today? “Those are questions I can’t answer,” she said. “And we’re here today because we don’t want other parents to have those same unanswered questions when they’re thinking about their children.”
“We don’t know everything,” “There may be genetic components. Addictions may be different for different people. What we do know is there are steps that can be taken to get through addiction and get to the other side, and that is under-resourced.” Said Obama during a national Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta earlier this year.
The House passed its 18 related bills and Senate its bills to battle America’s growing drug epidemic of painkiller abuse and heroin addiction, but the White House said the legislation won’t accomplish much unless Congress provides more than $1 billion to fund the new programs
The passage of bills through both chambers of Congress is a huge step, but advocates and members of Congress note that there still has not been a single dollar of new money appropriated to address the opioid addiction crisis. We have an epidemic emergency on our hands, just like in 2014 when Ebola took the lives of 14,000 people, Congress appropriated $5 Billion in emergency funding, we need to see the same type of funding here. The overprescribing of opiates has taken the lives of almost 15 times that number.”
The families will spend the next two days visiting Congressional offices to ask their lawmakers to come to a quick agreement on the bills and send them to the president, fully funded, within the next few weeks. All of these events – the lobby days, the press conference, the hearing – were organized in just 12 days as the House worked through its legislation.