Reed continues fight against opioid abuse epidemic

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) said on Friday that more needs to be done to combat opioid abuse in local communities in upstate New York.

“We care about the people that are struggling with addiction, their loved ones and those who have lost friends or family due to the horrors of heroin and opioid abuse,” Reed said. “We’ve heard from parents across our region that have been impacted by this and the heartache it has caused. As this problem continues to grow, it’s only right that we make efforts to turn the tide.”

Reed also led other New York congressional members in a letter to President Barack Obama that called on the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy to visit communities in upstate New York to hear firsthand from local stakeholders who are fighting the problem.

“We need to create opportunity so people have hope and aren’t in the emotional or mental state that would encourage them to turn to substance abuse for emotional reconciliation,” Reed said. “We also need to listen to the people on the front lines of dealing with these issues, especially as we expect to address it on a national level. The best policy solutions always come from them.”

Nationwide, there were 18,893 deaths from opioid overdoses in 2014, and an additional 10,574 deaths from heroin. Approximately 2,300 drug overdose deaths were recorded in New York during that time period. The number of heroin overdoses in 12 upstate New York counties also jumped by 417 percent from 2009 through 2013.

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