Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and 63 of her Democratic colleagues sent a letter on Jan. 9 to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer calling for the Democratic House Majority to commit additional resources to opioid and drug treatment during the 116th Congress.

The letter requests that the majority focus on increasing funds, dedicated staff and collaborative efforts to address our nation’s widespread addiction crisis. The letter also cites the sharp uptick in opioid and fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Delaware and across the country.

“Opioid and drug addiction have had a devastating impact on our urban, suburban and rural communities across this country. Addiction does not discriminate along racial or socio-economic lines and is affecting families regardless of zip code,” said Blunt Rochester in a statement.

“That’s why I am calling on House Democratic Leaders to make combatting this public health emergency and delivering on our promises to the American people a top priority next Congress. The human cost of addiction is simply too great not to allocate the necessary resources to stemming the ever-worsening opioid crisis. I have full faith that our Democratic leadership will build on the previous Congress’ bipartisan achievements and continue working toward giving families the tools they need to help their loved ones overcome this disease,” said Blunt Rochester.

Blunt Rochester is a former Delaware Deputy Secretary for Health and Social Services and member of the House Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, and a cosponsor of the 115th Congress’ bipartisan package of legislation aimed to stymie this crisis. The legislative package includes initiatives that would expand access under Medicaid for addiction treatment services, arm U.S. Customs and Border Protection with new tools to combat drug trafficking, give families the flexibility to use their Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts for addiction treatment and establish pediatric care centers within Medicaid for the treatment of babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome from opioid exposure during pregnancy.

The full text of Blunt Rochester’s letter is available at bit.ly/2RIp29C.