Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden on opioid epidemic: “Together, we must continue to fight this crisis”

October 11, 2017
Press Release

Greg Walden on opioid epidemic: “Together, we must continue to fight this crisis”

Testifies before Congressional committee about how opioid abuse is impacting Oregon

Click here or on the image above to view Walden’s remarks from today’s hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today shared stories from Oregonians who have been impacted by opioid addiction during a Congressional hearing on how to better combat the epidemic. Walden testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee -- where he serves as Chairman -- about how opioid abuse has impacted communities in Oregon, where more people died last year from drug overdoses than from car accidents.

Walden was joined by a bipartisan group of more than 50 lawmakers from across the country, who testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee about the effects the opioid epidemic is having in their respective states. The hearing was held to give lawmakers the opportunity to share what they have seen in their communities, as well as their ideas for how Congress can help end the crisis. 

“I come here today on behalf of my constituents, as I do every day, but especially today with the opportunity for all members to make their case to the Energy and Commerce Committee,” said Walden in his testimony. “In my district, I’ve heard the all too familiar tale of a mother whose eldest son was first prescribed opioids after injuring his ankle while playing basketball. It didn’t take long for him to become addicted. Another parent shared with me the story of his sister, a nurse, who died of an overdose after years of suffering from addiction and bouncing between pharmacies, passing off forged prescriptions. He spoke about how better tracking and treatment could have helped catch his sister's problem earlier and perhaps made counseling more effective. She was only caught because two pharmacies in a small town happened to check with each other. By then it was too late, though. These two stories may come have from Oregon, but they are not exclusive to the Beaver State -- they are why we are here today.”

Walden’s testimony comes as he recently held roundtables in Grants Pass and Bend to discuss opioid abuse in Oregon. Walden met with local medical professionals, law enforcement officials, and families affected by drug addiction to hear about what is being done on the ground to battle the epidemic.

“Meeting with the people on the front lines of this fight in our communities to find out what is working, and what more can be done, is crucial to our efforts to end this scourge,” said Walden.

As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Walden is at the forefront of the fight against opioid abuse and the bad actors contributing to the spread of the epidemic. The Energy and Commerce Committee has spearheaded recent efforts to crack down on opioid pill dumping and so-called “patient brokers”, who profit from the recruitment of patients seeking treatment for addiction.

Walden recently led a letter signed by a bipartisan group of Energy and Commerce Committee lawmakers that expanded an investigation into alleged opioid pill dumping by a major drug company. This action comes as Walden’s Energy and Commerce Committee prepares for a full committee hearing on October 23 to examine the federal government’s response to the crisis.

For more information on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s work to combat the opioid epidemic, please click here.