Congressman Gerry Connolly Enewsletter
Fighting the Opioid Crisis

Dear Neighbor,

Our country is facing an opioid epidemic. Nearly 200,000 people have died from opioid prescription overdoses since 2000. We are losing almost 91 of our friends and family members every day to this disease and opioid-involved deaths now account for more than 60 percent of all drug overdose deaths in the United States.

Like so many of you, I was deeply troubled by this weekend's Washington Post/CBS "60 Minutes" report that detailed the resulting fallout of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016.

Prior to this law’s enactment, the DEA had the authority to suspend a pharmaceutical distributor’s license if the Attorney General, based on longstanding agency practice, found there was an imminent danger to the public health and safety. This authority has traditionally been used to stop suspicious shipments of prescription drugs. For example, one pharmacy in West Virginia received more than 258,000 pills in one month, ten times the typical average. The 2016 legislation, however, raised the threshold the DEA must meet to exercise this authority, resulting in fewer suspension orders.

Now is not the time to tie DEA’s hands. We need to hold everyone along the supply chain accountable, from the pharmaceutical distributors, to the pharmacies, to the prescribers. This week, I introduced the Opioid Immediate Suspension Order Act, legislation that would rescind the limited definition of "imminent danger" and begin to restore the ability of the Department of Justice to respond to the growing opioid crisis.

Another important step we can take as a community is to bring this crisis out of the shadows. This Saturday, at 2:00 PM at the Fairfax County Government Center, I will host a roundtable with Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova to share resources available to Northern Virginians in identifying and responding to this health crisis.

The roundtable will include health and addiction experts including Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources William A. Hazel Jr., as well as representatives from the Fairfax County Department of Health, Fairfax County Community Services Board, Inova hospital, local first responders, and local law enforcement.

If you have questions or would like to RSVP, please contact Sharon Stark at or 703-256-3071.

Know you are not alone in facing these challenges.
Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress

Opioid Roundtable Details:

Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Fairfax County Government Center, conference rooms 9 & 10
12000 Government Center Pkwy, Fairfax, VA 22035



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