Across the country, drug overdose deaths have risen sharply and now surpass 67,000 a year, with each fatality representing a family crushed by the overwhelming loss of a loved one.
Solutions to this crisis are possible, but only if we are willing to work together. Constant engagement between federal, state, and local leaders partnering with law enforcement, health care professionals, and educators will set us on the path to free our community from the creeping rise of addiction and substance use disorders. As the author of the INTERDICT Act, which was signed into law by the President, I have brought both parties together to provide greater resources to law enforcement to stop the flow of deadly fentanyl from Mexico into communities across the country.
In Congress as Chair of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force, I am committed to help Pennsylvania and local municipalities in their efforts to address this crisis and tackle this ongoing challenge head-on. I was proud to support the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. This bipartisan bill will help in our overall efforts to combat the opioid crisis by advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, improving prevention, protecting our communities, and bolstering our efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl.
To tackle the addiction epidemic, we must also deal with mental health and ensure that those suffering from addiction and mental health issues get the care they need. I have led bipartisan efforts to remove barriers to substance use disorder treatment services under Medicaid. I also support the Parity Enforcement Act and Mental Health Compliance Act to strengthen enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act by requiring health plans and insurers to comply with federal parity requirements on providing equal coverage for mental and medical care. When approaching health policy, we must make sure that we give mental health the same attention that we devote to physical illness.