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Fighting the Crisis Next Door–Congressman Barletta’s Report

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 June 15, 2018
Fighting the Crisis Next Door
The startling statistics speak for themselves.  Every 25 minutes in the U.S., a baby is born having already been exposed to drugs and suffering from withdrawal.  Every day, 115 Americans die due to the misuse of opioids.  Last year, over 5,000 Pennsylvanians died from drug-related overdoses, a 15 percent increase from 2016.

There isn’t a community across our country that hasn’t been impacted by the opioid epidemic, which is why it is more important than ever for us to work across the aisle to find solutions.   To battle the opioid crisis, we must have a strong response that addresses not only access to treatment and prevention methods, but also the impact on economic development and labor force participation.

I’m pleased to inform you that this week, the House unanimously passed my bipartisan bill, theTreating Barriers to Prosperity Act (H.R. 5249), which will help communities battling the opioid epidemic recover the lost potential for economic growth, while also giving a leg up to those struggling with addiction by breaking down barriers to employment.   H.R. 5249 would clarify that funding provided through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which covers all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states including Pennsylvania, can be used to support programs designed to eliminate or reduce barriers to workforce development, attract and retain healthcare services, businesses, and workers, and develop relevant infrastructure, including broadband which can be used for telemedicine treatment.

 

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