WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Congressman David Trone (MD-06) introduced H.Res.684. Amidst the backdrop of the highest overdose rates ever recorded and in honor of National Recovery Month, this bipartisan resolution aims to support those in recovery by recognizing the importance of ending the stigmatization of substance use disorder. Original cosponsors of the resolution also include: Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Greg Stanton (AZ-09), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Andrew Garbarino (NY-02), and John Katko (NY-24).
“With drug overdoses killing a record 93,000 Americans last year, it’s more important than ever before that those struggling with a substance use disorder get the help that they need,” said Congressman Joyce. “Tragically, the stigma surrounding addiction can prevent those battling a substance use disorder from accessing the care they need and negatively impact treatment outcomes. I’m proud to join forces with Congressman Trone to combat these negative stereotypes and support those in recovery. To everyone struggling with a substance use disorder: know that help is available and there’s no shame in seeking it. Your path to recovery is something to be celebrated and there are many of us in Congress working across party lines to ensure that you can be successful in that journey.”
“We’ve lost so many lives to drug addiction, many of whom sadly didn’t know where to turn or who to turn to until it was too late,” said Congressman Trone. “We are working hand-in-hand with local, state, and national leaders to develop actionable steps to address and ‘End the Stigma’ surrounding mental health and drug addiction. This effort will go a long way to connect folks to vital resources, increase awareness in our communities, and, most importantly, save lives.”
While addiction is classified as a physical disease, individuals struggling with a substance use disorder are still often perceived to be at fault for their diagnosis. The stigmatization surrounding addiction can be a key barrier for people to seek and receive treatment and can also lead to discrimination in employment, insurance benefits and housing. These negative stereotypes, especially when combined with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, can create a deadly environment for those struggling with a substance use disorder. Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that a record-breaking 93,000 Americans were killed by drug overdoses in 2020.
According to this data, the Buckeye State had the fourth highest number of deaths with at least 5,215 Ohioans fatally overdosing on drugs last year – a nearly 22% increase over 2019 numbers. Joyce, who is the Vice Chair of the House Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, was one of the first Members of Congress to sound the alarm about how the unique circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic would exacerbate the opioid crisis and stifle efforts to support those battling addiction. Throughout the pandemic, Joyce has consistently fought for Ohioans struggling to overcome a substance use disorder, by taking action that includes: