Markey to be Joined by White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske & Basketball Legend Chris Herren to Discuss Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse Threat in Massachusetts; Endorse Support for Expanding Resources for Evidence-Based Public Health Approaches
Markey to call for more resources for treatment; expanded use of lifesaving overdose reversal drug to help first responders save lives
Washington (February 21, 2014) – With opioid overdoses reaching epidemic proportions, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) will be joined by Mr. R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and basketball legend Chris Herren, to discuss expanding the use of evidence-based public health approaches to reduce overdose deaths from prescription drugs and heroin, including expanding access to drug treatment, and the use of naloxone – a lifesaving overdose reversal drug. Senator Markey, Mr. Kerlikowske and Mr. Herren will be joined by state and local leaders, first responders, and treatment providers in Taunton to talk about supporting innovative systems for treatment on demand and detox.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths, driven by prescription painkillers, now surpass homicides and traffic crashes in the number of injury deaths in America. In 2010, approximately 100 Americans died from overdose every day. Prescription painkillers were involved in over 16,600 deaths that year. Heroin was involved in about 3,000.
In April 2013, the Obama Administration released a science-based drug policy that addresses the national drug challenge as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. The 2013 National Drug Control Strategyis built upon the latest scientific research demonstrating that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which one can recover. The Administration’s drug policy reform plan directs Federal agencies to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use before it begins, empower healthcare workers to intervene early at the first signs of a substance use disorder, expand access to treatment for those who need it, support the millions of Americans in recovery, and pursue “smart on crime” approaches to drug enforcement.
WHAT: Press conference to discuss prescription drug and heroin overdose prevention and abuse treatment
WHO: Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)
Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
***Chris Herren, founder of The Herren Project and Project Purple
Mass. Commissioner of Public Health Cheryl Bartlett, R.N.
Bristol Country District Attorney Sam Sutter
Taunton Mayor Tom Hoye
Taunton Police Chief Ed Walsh
State Senator Marc Pacheco
Ed Kelly, President of the Mass. Firefighters Union
WHEN: 11:45 AM, Monday, February 24, 2014
WHERE: Taunton Central Fire Station, 50 School Street, Taunton