The Opioid Epidemic

Drug addiction is not a personal moral failing, it is a disease. Dan believes the opioid epidemic should be treated as what it is, the most serious public health emergency of our time. Drug overdoses are now the most significant cause of death for adults under 50; last year, one Pennsylvanian died from a drug overdose every two hours – a 37% increase in just one year.

We need leaders in Congress who understand this issue and its impact on families across our region. Dan’s own family experience - his sister struggled with substance abuse, eventually leading to a heroin addiction and her disappearance – makes him particularly attuned to this issue. Dan knows addiction is a family disease, and he believes we must attend to the needs of family members as well as to those of individuals suffering from addiction.

In Congress, Dan will:

  • Defend the Affordable Care Act, which expanded access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for millions of Americans. If Republicans in Congress succeed in cutting Medicaid and repealing the Affordable Care Act, they would strip coverage from nearly three million Americans struggling with substance abuse, including over 220,000 struggling with opioid addiction, and their family members.
  • Fight for Medicare for All, because the ultimate solution to the crisis of care and affordability in our health system is to guarantee that every American has access to treatment as a right, not a privilege.
  • Hold Big Pharma and the insurance industry accountable. Drug manufacturers and distributors pushed to increase the use of prescription opioid medication, resulting in enormous increases in company profits -- and in addictions incurred from prescription opioids.  Dan believes the federal government must work with state Attorneys General to hold these companies accountable. In addition, Dan strongly believes in the importance of combating discrimination against those with mental health and substance abuse disorders. In our health system, that means enforcing the legal requirement that insurers cover mental health and substance abuse disorders equivalently to any other disease.
  • Provide $10 billion in new federal funding for drug treatment and prevention. This investment will save lives by allowing communities to significantly increase access to medication-based treatment programs, fund more effective education programs in high schools, and ensure naloxone (Narcan) is available at low or zero cost.