February 08, 2018

Senator Hassan Highlights Impact of Opioid Crisis on Children and Families in Health Committee Hearing


Click here for footage of the Senator’s questions during the hearing.

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan highlighted the impact that the opioid crisis has on children and families in a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing today.

Senator Hassan spoke with Becky Savage, the Co-Founder of 525 Foundation, which Savage created in memory of her two oldest sons, who passed away due to acute alcohol and opioid overdose. “As I heard your testimony, I was reminded of the experience of two Granite Staters, Jim and Jeanne Moser, who lost their 26-year-old son, Adam, in a somewhat similar experience to what you described with your sons,” Senator Hassan said. The Senator highlighted the Moser’s Zero Left campaign to educate people about the importance of storing prescription drugs safely and how to dispose of excess medications. “It’s a real example of the work that so many families are doing to try to prevent this from happening to anyone else, so thank you.”

Senator Hassan also highlighted her State of the Union guest, McKenzie Harrington-Bacote, who works as the Program Administration for the Office of School Wellness in the Laconia School District in New Hampshire, which focuses on preventing substance misuse and addressing students’ all-around behavioral health and wellness. Pointing to the critical work Ms. Harrington-Bacote does, Senator Hassan asked Dr. William Bell, President and CEO of Casey Family Programs, “Can you speak to what more schools should be doing to help facilitate student well-being, especially in schools where children may be exposed to substance misuse in their homes or communities, and how can we here in Congress support them in these efforts?”

Dr. Bell said, “I think schools have always been, and should continue to be, a core front line institution in whatever ailments we are challenging in our communities. And I think particularly with the opioid crisis, the school can become a very safe haven for young people but as we know that there’s a lot going on in our schools and that means that we’ve got to change our approach that we’re taking. I think we need to focus less on the policing that we’re doing in our schools and more on the protecting.”