Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden on opioid epidemic: “We have to act”

February 28, 2018
Press Release

Greg Walden on opioid epidemic: “We have to act”

Kicks off legislative push to advance solutions to combat the nationwide crisis

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today kicked off a legislative push to advance concrete solutions to address the opioid epidemic in Oregon and throughout the country. Walden, who Chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, led a hearing today entitled “Combating the Opioid Crisis: Helping Communities Balance Enforcement and Patient Safety,” and examined eight legislative initiatives to combat the nationwide crisis.

“No community is immune to the opioid epidemic.  It’s ripping apart the very fabric of our neighborhoods,” said Walden.  “From Oregon to Ohio.  From Connecticut to California.  Our friends and our families are experiencing an epic tragedy -- one that’s claiming the lives of more than 100 Americans each and every single day.”

The hearing focused on giving law enforcement the tools they need to keep illicit synthetic drugs, like fentanyl, off America’s streets. Fentanyl is so deadly that a piece the size of a grain of salt is lethal, and has led to a reported 49 deaths in Oregon over the course of two years.

Combating the opioid epidemic is Rep. Walden’s top priority as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Today’s hearing represents the first of three legislative hearings the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold in the coming months to put forth initiatives to address the crisis. Rep. Walden intends to bring a legislative package to the floor of the House of Representative by Memorial Day.

During the hearing, Walden highlighted roundtable meetings he holds throughout Oregon’s 2nd District with those on the front lines of the opioid crisis in. Walden brings these conversations back to Washington, D.C. as he continues his work in Congress to put an end to opioid abuse.

“At a roundtable I held in southern Oregon, a man named ‘Mike’ showed up,” recalled Walden. “Mike’s son was injured in a school sporting accident, and he became addicted to the prescription painkillers provided by his doctor to aid in his recovery.  Eventually, Mike’s son made the all-too-familiar transition to a cheaper opioid source: heroin.  To this day, Mike's son still struggles with his addiction that began with opioid abuse.

“Mike’s story is tragically not a unique one. It is a story that is ripping apart families all across our country. We have to act.”

In addition to the Energy and Commerce Committee’s legislative push, Walden continues to investigate alleged opioid pill dumping into rural communities. To read more about Walden’s ongoing investigation, as well as the Energy and Commerce Committee’s broader effort to combat the opioid crisis, please click here.

For more information on today’s legislative hearing, including background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, please click here.