Congressman Donald Norcross

Representing the 1st District of New Jersey
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Norcross Fights for NJ Families at Heroin Task Force Hearing

Feb 7, 2017
News Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, Congressman Donald Norcross participated in the first bipartisan Heroin Task Force meeting of 2017, in Washington, D.C., to discuss the science and treatment issues behind heroin and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.

“In 2015, our nation set an unacceptable new record – more than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses. The soaring rise in deaths, fueled by heroin and prescription painkillers, now kills more Americans than car crashes, guns, terrorism or war. This is more than just a public health emergency – it’s a threat to our national security.”

Last year, Congress passed the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to provide community stakeholders added resources to address the opioid and heroin epidemic. Norcross also supported an additional $1 billion in federal funding to state opioid programs included within the 21st Century Cures Act.

“Addiction has no social or economic boundaries – it’s hurting urban and suburban families, alike,” Norcross said.  “Addition is a disease – not a personal failure. We must end the stigma and help those suffering.”

In the hearing, Congressman Norcross’s questioning revealed most medical students are receiving less than one hour of training on addiction and overprescribing medication.  

“Almost 100 Americans die from an opioid-related drug overdose, every day. Yet, our medical schools are barely teaching future doctors about the risk of overprescribing medication or how to treat addiction. If we’re going to end this deadly crisis, we need to ensure doctors on the front lines are properly trained to prevent and treat addiction,” Norcross said.

Since 2010, the rate of heroin overdose deaths in New Jersey has tripled. There were 918 918 heroin-related deaths in 2015. In Gloucester County, the heroin death rate was 17.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014 – nearly 7 times the national average.