VIDEO: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Floor Statement on Opioid Epidemic
Washington, DC—Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke on the House floor today to condemn drug manufacturers that deceptively market opioids, lying about the drugs’ addictive nature, and fueling a deadly drug epidemic ravaging communities in Hawaiʻi and across the nation. Over the past decade, drug overdose deaths in Hawaiʻi increased by 83 percent—more than double the national average—according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:
"In my home state of Hawaiʻi, hospitalizations and emergency room visits for opioid-related conditions have more than doubled in the last decade. More people are now dying from overdoses than motor vehicle accidents. This opioid epidemic is killing 91 Americans all across this country every single day.
“For years, companies like Purdue Pharma, which is the maker of the commonly known drug, OxyContin, have profited off the suffering of millions of Americans who are dealing and struggling with opioid addiction. Now Purdue and others are going overseas, targeting foreign populations, using the very same shady marketing tactics, lies, and false advertising that helped them get rich at the expense of the American people.
“This is absolutely unacceptable. We can't just keep wringing our hands about the opioid crisis without actually tackling the cause of it. Purdue and those responsible should be prosecuted for the deaths and lives that have been ruined as a result of their lies."
Background: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard 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. She also voted to pass a series of bipartisan measures in the 114th Congress to address some of the widespread problems that have caused and perpetuated the national opioid crisis, including the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (S.524) signed into law in July 2016, and has continued to call for drug companies perpetuating the crisis to be held accountable.