OPINION: Fitzpatrick Weighs in Recovery Homes

From municipalities and residents, to lawmakers and those seeking the laudable goal of long-term sobriety, the issue of recovery homes is one with many stakeholders. Speaking with district residents – including many in my own neighborhood – it is clear that the proliferation of recovery homes in our area, as well as the genuine concern about their efficacy and safety, is one that transcends typical civic involvement. As such, community members are right to expect an honest dialog and bipartisan effort between local, county, state and federal leaders to address their concerns.

I applaud the state’s Certified Drug and Alcohol Recovery Housing Task Force, led by PA Rep. Frank Farry, for its detailed effort to address this issue with input from all those impacted. Through these proposed regulations, Pennsylvania can provide need standards for recovery homes that will help ensure the health and safety of the environment for residents, while giving municipalities and residents the information and peace of mind they deserve.

What should not be forgotten, however, is that this issue is just a symptom of a larger problem we face as a community and a nation: the epidemic of drug abuse and addition.

From the abuse of prescription medication to the continued rise in heroin and opioid use, this crisis is a national problem with local implications. Reports released this month show that drug deaths rose 23% in Pennsylvania over the last year, including an uptick in Bucks County. Eight of every 10 fatal drug overdoses involved heroin or prescription drugs. Opioid and heroin addiction has taken a devastating toll on families from every region and background and led, in part, to this issue.

As a member of Congress representing the people of Bucks and Montgomery counties I will work toward addressing each of these issues in the collaborative manner required.

There is work to be done at the federal level to better the understand the impact of recovery homes on local planning and address uncertainty caused by current federal housing law. Likewise, federal representatives must be willing to address the shortcomings in our current drug education, treatment and recovery programs as well as remain committed to providing law enforcement and first responders the tools they need to win this fight in communities like ours.

Identify a problem, work together on a solution, enact policies that address it. That’s the process we followed at the FBI while working to protect the nation and there’s no reason we should expect any different from our lawmakers. If elected to Congress, that’s the problem-solving attitude and experience I’ll bring day one to this issue and the others we face as a nation.

Originally published 7/25/16 on LevittownNow.com:  http://levittownnow.com/2016/07/25/letter-to-the-editor-congressional-candidate-writes-about-recovery-homes/