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Bonamici Unveils Priorities, New Legislation to Address Opioid Crisis

April 23, 2018
Press Release
Congresswoman Releases Report & New Legislation Following Six Months of Community Discussions


BEAVERTON, OR – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) released a new report about priorities she has identified for addressing the opioid crisis. Bonamici also announced new legislation, The Safe Disposal of Opioids Act (HR 5557), to make it easier to dispose of unused medications. The bill will create a grant program to help pharmacies and other qualified locations install and maintain drug disposal bins. To hold pharmaceutical companies that manufacture opioids accountable for their role in the crisis, the bill requires them to fund the grants through a small fee on opioids they sell.

Over the last six months, Bonamici held community discussions in each county she represents to hear directly from local experts and families in the throes of addiction. She toured treatment facilities to speak with people in recovery, and met with parents, health care professionals, community leaders, and veterans.

“As a mom and as a policy maker, I found the stories from people in recovery and about the lives lost to opioid abuse to be heartbreaking,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “We should be doing everything we can to prevent addiction, help people access treatment, and reduce the oversupply of prescription drugs that led to this crisis. In Congress, I’m committed to holding opioid manufacturers accountable, increasing drug disposal options, and securing more resources to help Oregonians cope with the deadly opioid epidemic.”

On Monday, Bonamici released a report titled “Fighting for Our Communities: Overcoming the Opioid Crisis.” The report encapsulates what she heard from NW Oregonians and identifies her priorities to improve prevention, treatment and recovery, pain management, innovation, and disposal.

"As an emergency physician, I've seen so much suffering related to the opioid epidemic,” said Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran. “Congresswoman Bonamici's legislation speaks to the need for straightforward, common-sense solutions. It has to be at least as easy to get rid of opioids as it is to get them in the first place."

“I was young and trying to fit in a new town when I started using pills,” said Jessica Cardinal of McMinnville. “Over time I switched to heroin. Now I’ve been sober for three and a half years, but I’ve gone to more than ten funerals of people who died from addiction in that time. As a recovery mentor helping other people overcome addiction, I know firsthand that we have to increase access to treatment, or people will keep dying from this disease.”

Across Northwest Oregon, Bonamici heard about how difficult it is to dispose of unused prescription drugs.

“Many people have unused medications at home left over after a surgery or illness, and too often those leftover drugs are misused by children, family members, or friends,” Bonamici continued. “Unfortunately, it can be easier to get an opioid prescription than to safely dispose of unused pills. We need to do better. We must make it easy to safely dispose of unused medications.”

The grants provided through the Safe Disposal of Opioids Act will fund about 10,000 disposal sites across the country.

You can download photos from the event here.