February 14, 2018

Senator Hassan Commends Mothers of Opioid Overdose Victims on Senate Floor

New England Moms Organized Letter-Writing Campaign to President Trump Calling for More Action on Opioid Epidemic 

OpioidMomFS

Click here for footage of the Senator’s floor speech.

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan this week spoke on the Senate floor, where she commended mothers of opioid overdose victims for their courage in speaking out about their personal experiences and highlighted the importance of increasing federal resources to combat the fentanyl, heroin, and opioid epidemic in New Hampshire and across the country.

Senator Hassan took to the Senate floor following reports that a group of New England mothers from New Hampshire and Massachusetts who have lost their children to the opioid epidemic sent letters to President Trump, calling for more to be done to combat the opioid crisis and to prevent other families from enduring what they have experienced. The letters are scheduled to arrive today on Valentine’s Day

“The courage of people willing to share their stories is key to breaking down the stigma of addiction and pushing for solutions. These mothers have all lost their children to overdoses – but through their grief, they are fighting to ensure that other parents are spared from what they have endured,” Senator Hassan said on the Senate floor.

“Their initiative is putting faces to this crisis – and showing the White House that these lives lost are more than just numbers. We can never thank the families who have lost loved ones enough for speaking out – and for working tirelessly and courageously to try to prevent others from suffering as they have. We owe it to them to listen to their stories. But more importantly, we owe it to them to take stronger action.”

Last week, Senator Hassan helped secure $6 billion in additional funding to combat the opioid epidemic over the next two years, and is working to ensure that the opioid funding formula will be improved to prioritize states such as New Hampshire with high mortality rates from overdoses. The Senator has made clear that while this funding is a step in the right direction, much more funding is needed to truly stem – and reverse – the deadly tide of this epidemic.

See below for the full text of Senator Hassan’s speech or watch it here:

Mr. President, in my home state of New Hampshire and in communities across the nation, there is no greater public health and safety challenge than the fentanyl, heroin, and opioid crisis.

Everywhere I go, I hear stories from people affected by this crisis.

I hear inspiring stories from those in recovery, who are tirelessly working to stay healthy and rebuild their lives.

And I hear tragic stories from siblings, parents, and friends who have experienced the unimaginable pain of losing a loved one.

The courage of people willing to share their stories is key to breaking down the stigma of addiction and pushing for solutions.

This month, I saw reports that mothers in New Hampshire and in our neighboring state of Massachusetts are doing just that. These mothers have all lost their children to overdoses – but through their grief, they are fighting to ensure that other parents are spared from what they have endured.  

They are writing letters to the White House that are set to arrive on Valentine’s Day – all enclosed with photos of the children they have lost. Their message is that more must be done to end this epidemic, and that more funding must be allocated to help those struggling.

Their initiative is putting faces to this crisis – and showing the White House that these lives lost are more than just numbers.

One of the mothers said, “We have broken hearts, so we want the president to see that."

Mr. President, we can never thank the families who have lost loved ones enough for speaking out – and for working tirelessly and courageously to try to prevent others from suffering as they have.

We owe it to them to listen to their stories, but more importantly, we owe it to them to take stronger action. 

Mr. President, I am encouraged by recent work in Congress to provide a significant increase in funding to combat this crisis.

Over the past months, I have been pushing for more support for treatment, recovery, prevention, and law enforcement efforts. And the bipartisan agreement that passed last week included billions of dollars in additional resources – an important next step in strengthening our response. 

This is welcome news for states across the nation grappling with the challenges of this epidemic – and it will be critical that these new federal dollars are prioritized for states like New Hampshire that have been the hardest hit. I will continue working to ensure that happens.

But even with this additional funding – we know that it will ultimately take a far greater investment to turn the tide of this horrible epidemic.

Communities, law enforcement, and those struggling need our continued support and action. And members of both parties must continue to work together in order to make progress. Thank you.

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