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Congressman Tom MacArthur

Representing the 3rd District of New Jersey

MacArthur Hosts Briefing on Opioid Epidemic

September 16, 2016
Press Release
Invites Local Officials to Discuss Growing Crisis at Home

Washington, D.C. – Congressman MacArthur today hosted a heroin and opioid epidemic briefing via conference call with Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato and local elected officials and first responders from New Jersey’s Third Congressional District.

Topics covered on the call:

  • South Jersey’s Epidemic
    • New Jersey’s heroin overdose death rate is triple the soaring U.S. rate
    • Overall, drug overdoses now cause more deaths than car crashes, with opioids like OxyContin and other pain medications killing 44 people a day
    • Since 2010 there have been 184,038 people admitted to New Jersey substance abuse treatment facilities for heroin and opioid abuse
    • There are five counties (Including Ocean) where the heroin death rate exceeds the number of treatment beds available per 100,000 people
    • Ocean County accounts for 13% (3,688) of people in New Jersey admitted for heroin or opioid treatment
  • Legislative Efforts
    • Congressman MacArthur joined the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic to unite behind the effort to take strong, immediate action on this crisis.
    • Congressman MacArthur released a Resource Guide for Families Impacted by Heroin and Opioid Epidemic in South Jersey – this information is in Congressman MacArthur’s offices and online.
    • Congressman MacArthur was one of the leaders in the House to pass the bipartisan, bicameral legislation that was recently signed into law by the President called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. This legislation provides additional support to state and local government and law enforcement.
      • Creates an interagency taskforce that can review and modify best practices for the treatment of pain.  This is essential, we know that prescription painkillers are a gateway for many into heroin addiction and we need better best practice standards for our medical professionals. 
      • Strengthens treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum women and their children.  
      • Expands the availability of overdose reversal drugs to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help save lives.
    • Congressman MacArthur led the request for additional funding for the Substance Abuse Block Grant program – Part of this program makes sure funds are made available to acquire and distribute naloxone, the opioid antagonist capable of reversing the fatal effects of an opioid overdose.

“The face of addiction has changed, and our communities need to join together to help individuals and families struggling with this growing epidemic,” said Congressman MacArthur. “Prosecutors Bernardi and Coronato are doing an outstanding job at the local level to combat this very real crisis. Our first responders and elected officials are facing this each day and I am dedicated to working with the families and communities in South Jersey to fight this epidemic, and win.  Chances are, you may know someone engaged in a fight for their life right now—a fight you may not even know is happening—and our team in South Jersey is hard at work to end this epidemic once and for all.”