Less than 10% of people get the addiction treatment they need.
As individuals in long-term recovery from addiction, families who have lost loved ones, health professionals, prevention and public health leaders, law enforcement officials, religious leaders, and so many more, we are grateful for the action on opioids taken with HR 6 during the last Congress. We believe that legislation will save lives and improve care for some. We thank you for your leadership in bringing this bill to the floor and building bipartisan consensus.
However, while we write you to celebrate this success, we also wish to convey our strong belief that there is still so much more that must be done to address our nation’s most significant and urgent public health crisis. As an elected lawmaker, you know the reality facing your constituents – one in three households are directly impacted by substance use disorders, which costs our economy over $442 billion a year, and a 90% treatment gap for those suffering continues to persist. The chasm between the evidence and adequate delivery of health services remains massive, and more and more families every day join the ranks of those mourning the loss of a loved one.
This issue is multi-faceted and decades from being solved. Alcohol and other drug-related problems traverse public health, public safety, judicial, housing, labor, veterans, and more. It is our firm belief that the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 demands the creation of a Senate caucus specifically focused on addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery similar to the House of Representatives. A bipartisan caucus for this top issue of concern to all Senators can provide a platform for diverse collaboration moving forward.
We hope you will consider this, and both help create and then join an Addiction Caucus for the 116th Congress so that together, we can continue facing addiction in a united bipartisan fashion.
With warm regards,