PHOTOS: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, National Leaders Hold Forum on Combating Opioid Epidemic

March 21, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today joined a panel discussion with Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) and the National Community Action Foundation (NCAF) focused on harnessing the power, skills, and experience of community leaders to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic spreading across the country.

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Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said: “In Hawai‘i and across the country, the opioid epidemic is ravaging every corner of our communities, leaving death, ruined lives, and broken families in its wake. In Hawai‘i alone, there are roughly 490,000 active opioid prescriptions— affecting about one third of our state's population. We cannot completely address this opioid crisis without tackling its cause and holding accountable the big pharmaceutical companies who are flooding our streets with these highly-addictive drugs, lying about their addictive nature, and circumventing regulations put in place to protect the public. Within our communities, there are incredible leaders who are working on prevention and intervention to deal with this crisis and build a pathway toward safer, stronger, and healthier communities.”

Background: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has continued to call for nationwide action to combat the opioid epidemic, including condemning Big Pharma’s role in proliferating the opioid epidemic,pushing for consideration of medical marijuana as a pain management alternative to opioids, and more. The congresswoman has cosponsored legislation like the STOP OD Act (H.R.664) to help state and local governments raise awareness of the dangers of opioids like fentanyl, oxycodone and heroin, expand educational efforts to prevent opiate abuse and promote treatment and prevention, and the Road to Recovery Act (HR 2938), which eliminates the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion for substance use disorder and helps states expand access to inpatient treatment for Medicaid enrollees. The congresswoman is also a cosponsor of the Community Action Opioid Response Act (H.R. 5124) to aid low-income communities affected by the opioid epidemic.

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