Drug addiction and opioid abuse have become growing problems in America. Drugs have particularly devastated rural areas like West Virginia. Sadly, many of those who start abusing at a young age are unable to kick their addiction as it spirals out of control.

According to a study, West Virginia had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, 12.56 per 100,000 youth, almost double the national average. This crisis must be addressed.

In 2016 Congress took steps to strengthen prevention, treatment, and drug education programs so that we can turn the tide and reverse this heartbreaking problem before more lives are taken. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recover Act will:

  • Create new grant programs for opioid reversal drugs;
  • Establish a task force to update and review best practices for pain management;
  • Reauthorize a treatment program to aid pregnant women or women with postpartum facing substance abuse;
  • Provide information and resources to youth athletes on the dangers of opioid abuse;

This legislation was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and the President signed it into law in July 2016. While this legislation was a good first step, there is much more to be done to increase access to treatment, improve education and prevention programs, and target drug traffickers to disrupt the flow of drugs to our streets.

Making progress in this fight also means we need to improve coordination between local, state, and federal officials. Congressman McKinley personally worked with local leaders, law enforcement officers, and officials at the DEA, to bring a new Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS) to Clarksburg to help stop the supply of opioids. This new force will play a key role in helping us win this battle.

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