At the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit today, Congressman Frank Guinta, co-founder of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, focused on real people behind troubling statistics in his home state, New Hampshire, where one in every 3,000 people died of a heroin or opiate overdose last year.
"At Rochester's Hope on Haven Hill, or any number of treatment centers rising to meet the challenge, I meet Granite Staters struggling with addiction all the time. They're sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, who need help with what has quickly become a national crisis," said Rep. Guinta, the former of mayor of Manchester.
The number of heroin-related deaths in New Hampshire's biggest city is trending higher than last year's total figure. To help police departments and hospitals manage the crisis, Rep. Guinta (NH-01) has introduced or voted for legislation to increase federal, state and local cooperation among governments, as well as to increase access to life-saving overdose medication, such as Narcan, and funding to drug courts, which divert drug abusers from the criminal justice system into treatment programs.
"With long-term treatment, many of these people could contribute to our society and economy. We need their skills and talents, including their personal stories, so more Granite Staters understand the dangers of heroin and opiates," said the Congressman.
In addition to raising public awareness of New Hampshire's -- and the country's -- growing heroin epidemic at the Summit in Atlanta, Rep. Guinta will travel next month to the southern border to investigate Mexican cartels, smuggling most illegal heroin into the United States.
The Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic now counts over 70 Republican and Democrat House members from around the country and will hold a briefing in April to learn about opiate prescription practices in the medical establishment.
Many Task Force members joined Rep. Guinta's letter to Appropriations Committee Hal Rogers in support of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, a bill that Rep. Guinta cosponsored. Chairman Rogers oversees funding and invited Rep. Guinta to speak at today's Summit.