Rep. Cook Votes to Take Action to Deal with Opioid Crisis
WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) joined his colleagues in the House in voting for a number of bills aimed at fighting the growing opioid epidemic. According to the US Department of Health and Humans Services, in 2016 more than 42,000 people died from opioid overdose and an estimated 2.1 million people suffered from an opioid use disorder.
Today, Rep. Cook voted for HR 5788, the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act of 2018. This legislation protects Americans by stopping the flow of synthetic opioids in the international mail system. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl enter the United States through multiple avenues, including ports of entry, express delivery services, and international mail. This legislation strengthens oversight on international shipments, enabling the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to better target high-risk shipments for inspection and seizure. HR 5788 passed the House overwhelmingly.
Rep. Cook also voted earlier this week for a number of additional measures targeting the opioid epidemic, including HR 5009, Jessie’s Law. After being sexually assaulted, a Michigan college student named Jessie looked to heroin to try to escape the trauma. Jessie battled addiction for nearly seven years, going in and out of rehab four times. Following her time at a Michigan treatment facility, Jessie was turning her life around and had been clean for six months.
Later she developed a running-related infection in her hip that required surgery. Her parents informed the hospital that she was a recovering addict and should not be prescribed opioids, but that message never made it to the discharging physician. Without knowing her addiction history, the doctor prescribed 50 oxycodone pills and she fatally overdosed the next day.
HR 5009 ensures medical professionals have access to a consenting patient’s complete health information when making treatment decisions by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and annually disseminate best practices regarding the prominent display of substance use disorder history in records of patients who have previously provided this information to a health care provider. HR 5009 passed the House unanimously.
Rep. Cook said, “This week Congress passed more than 25 bills specifically targeting the opioid crisis. With more than 115 people dying every day as a result of opioid abuse and overdose, we need to take action now. There’s still work to be done, but we’re making progress on fighting this epidemic that’s causing so much death and suffering.”
For a complete look at legislation has Congress has passed targeting the opioid crisis, please visit: energycommerce.house.gov/opioids-legislation/
A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.