At Energy & Commerce Hearing, Esty Calls on Colleagues to Take Bipartisan Action to Address Opioid Epidemic
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) called on her colleagues to take bipartisan action to address the opioid crisis ravaging communities in Connecticut and throughout the country at a hearing on the topic held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday morning.
“Everywhere I go in Connecticut, I meet people whose families have lost loved ones to drug addiction,” Esty said. “It’s an epidemic that affects families across the country regardless of age, race, gender, or socioeconomic status. These are real people, real families and real lives that are affected by this crisis. The stakes are high, and if vital treatment centers are forced to close their doors, or if we limit access to them, people will die.”
To view video of Esty’s testimony, visit https://youtu.be/9evJRFwHLiw or click on the image above
Over the past five years, Connecticut has experienced a spike in the number of opioid-related deaths. According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, deaths rose from 357 in 2012 to 917 in 2017. Deaths related to the use of the opioid fentanyl rose from 14 in 2012 to 483 in 2017. In spite of the massive new caseload for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the agency’s accreditation is at risk as a result of Connecticut’s ongoing budget impasse. The office has been forced to work with a shorter staff despite facing a 70% spike in the number of autopsies performed over the past six years.
Several towns in Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District are among the hardest-hit by the opioid crisis. New Britain, Waterbury, and Torrington all rank among the top five towns in either the most residents lost to fatal overdoses or the highest per capita number of residents killed per 10,000 residents. Esty remains committed to working with state and local officials and emergency responders to address the skyrocketing numbers of overdoses affecting families throughout the district.