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Rep. Zeldin Announces Bipartisan Initiative to Combat Drug Abuse

July 19, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC –Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, C – NY-1) joined today with local elected officials, community groups and concerned residents to announce a bipartisan initiative in Congress to combat drug abuse across the country and on Long Island: The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (H.R. 953) and the Stop Overdose Stat (SOS) Act (H.R. 2850), both cosponsored by the Congressman. 

Congressman Zeldin hosted the press conference after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last week highlighting the growing drug abuse epidemic across America, specifically heroin abuse, which is skyrocketing across all demographics on Long Island. 

The CDC reports that heroin use among younger generations is soaring. The CDC found that over the past decade, heroin use has doubled among young adults ages 18–25 and heroin-related overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled.  On Long Island alone, there were 42 heroin and other drug overdoses in the past 15 months, and 341 drug related deaths overall in 2014.  

The Congressman was joined by Suffolk County Legislators Robert Trotta and Leslie Kennedy; Kim Revere, President of Kings Park in the kNOw; Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Chief Medical Officer for Phoenix House and Director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing; Steve Chassman, Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence; Linda Ventura and Teri Kroll, both members of Families in Support of Treatment (F.I.S.T), and The Prevention Resource Center of Suffolk County.

“Our communities and families on Long Island have been severely impacted by the rise of prescription drug abuse and the growing epidemic of heroin,” said Congressman Zeldin. “The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which I am proud to support and cosponsor, is bipartisan legislation aimed at increasing treatment and recovery services, and providing the proper education and resources at a local level on Long Island and across New York State to help combat this growing epidemic.”

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (H.R. 953) is a bill that will help provide Long Island residents suffering from drug abuse with the services they need to guide them on the road to recovery. 
 
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act will provide up to $80 million in funding to help prevent and treat addiction through community-based education and preventative programs, and treatment and recovery programs. The grants made available through this bill will also provide the funding necessary to expand prescription drug monitoring programs in states. Additionally, the funding will provide our police force and emergency medical responders with higher supplies of Naloxone, a prescription drug proven to reverse an opioid overdose.

This legislation was introduced by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and currently has 20 cosponsors, including 8 Republicans and 12 Democrats.

The Stop Overdose Stat (SOS) Act (H.R. 2850) provides an additional $25 million over a 5 year period for Naloxone production and distribution, to help increase the supply, and provide more medical professionals and families with this life saving drug.

The Stop Overdose Stat (SOS) Act will also establish a preventative research task force, which will be established to research ways to prevent future overdose deaths, taking a preventative approach against drug abuse.

“Together, as a community, we must reverse the growing drug crisis we’ve seen on Long Island and across the country. I urge all of my colleagues to join me in passing The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 and the Stop Overdose Stat Act to provide our local communities with the resources necessary to help stop and prevent drug abuse,” Congressman Zeldin concluded.

Suffolk County Legislator Robert Trotta said, “Having been assigned to the FBI violent crime task force for 10 years, and a Suffolk narcotics detective for 15 years, I fully understand that the drug problem in this country needs to be addressed from all angles and the Congressman's legislation does just that.”

"To bring the prescription opioid and heroin crisis under control we need to prevent new cases of opioid addiction and we need to see that people suffering from this disease are able to access effective treatment. H.R. 953 helps us do both because it expands prevention and treatment efforts in hard hit communities like Suffolk County. This bill, if passed, will help save lives" said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Chief Medical Officer of Phoenix House and Director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.

Kim Revere, President of Kings Park in the kNOw, said, “As a member of a community coalition I know how important grass roots efforts pertain to fighting this epidemic. This bill will provide funds for groups like mine to help get information out to our community and communities all over this country. The system can be very difficult to navigate and coalitions like ours communicate with people on a local level and help point them in the right direction. We also provide educational information to our youth. This epidemic is huge and it is a relief to finally see assistance coming from a federal level.”

The Congressman, who remains deeply committed to the drug addiction crisis on Long Island, will be hosting a Heroin Summit in October. More details are to follow.