Rep. Darin LaHood Partners With Local Initiatives Combating Opioid/Heroin Epidemic, Hosts Round Table Forum in Quincy
Quincy, IL— Today, Rep. Darin LaHood hosted a community round table forum with local law enforcement officers, medical professionals, treatment providers, and local government officials to discuss the growing problem of heroin and synthetic opioid addiction and overdose. Hosted at the Oakley-Lindsay Civic Center, those in attendance included Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore, Illinois State Representative Randy Frese, Chris Parker of the Cornerstone Foundations for Family, Sergeant Patrick Frazier of the West Central Illinois Task Force, and many other spokespersons fighting locally to combat this sweeping epidemic.
“This epidemic transcends socio-economic status, it transcends educational levels, it transcends racial differences, and it transcends specific age groups. As a former state and federal prosecutor for over a decade, I am familiar with drug addiction and overdose. Today, I wanted to hear from those handling this crisis on the frontlines, from all angles, to learn how I can bolster these local efforts at the federal level in Congress,” stated Rep. LaHood. “The takeaway is that there are phenomenal efforts underway, but there is still much that can be done to address addiction.”
Every day, seventy-eight Americans die from an opioid overdose. This problem is a national one. Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids has quadrupled and is now the leading cause of injury death in the United States. It is also, tragically, a local problem. Over the summer of 2015, Adams County EMS saw four times more cases of heroin overdoses than they expected. Crews had to double their stock of Narcan, an overdose antidote.
Sergeant Patrick Frazier of the West Central Illinois Task Force share the perspective of law enforcement: “I really appreciate Congressman LaHood coming to town to discuss this problem with us. This is an issue for our community. Many of us remember that last summer we had quite a problem with heroin overdoses. This is a new problem for our community, but, sadly, it is nationwide. It needs attention at the federal level, so we are thankful to the Congressman for coming today.”
Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore shared, “I want to thank the Congressman for his proactive approach in bringing us together to talk about this issue. We have seen a rise in heroin abuse, which led to unfortunate and untimely deaths from abuse in the community. It will take a hands-on approach by all levels of government, not only locally but also in the state and federal governments—and alongside our partners—to address it. Today is a good first step, but it is not the only step we will take. I look forward to continuing the discussion.”
Illinois State Representative Randy Frese stated, “I am thankful to be included in this discussion and to speak with those who are engaged with this daily. Today we spoke about the unique concerns in the Tri-State area, where individuals cross borders to accumulate these substances. There will need to be some new action taken to respond to this, and I am thankful to the Congressman for facilitating this collaboration.”
“The House of Representatives will consider legislation as early as next week to address this issue at the federal level, and I plan to take back the concerns and ideas that were discussed today and translate them into action at the federal level to support efforts here in Central and West Central Illinois,” Rep. LaHood stated in closing.
So far, over a dozen measures have been introduced in various committees to target the heroin and opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.