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Hudson Hosts Opioid Roundtable in Concord

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2018
 
Hudson Hosts Opioid Roundtable in Concord
 
CONCORD, N.C. – On Tuesday, March 27, U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), a leader in Congress’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis, hosted a roundtable discussion at Serenity House in Concord to meet with local leaders, local officials, law enforcement, health care professionals and members of our community fighting addiction and talk about ways to improve public health response efforts. Rep. Hudson met with Alice Harrison, Director of Hope Haven and Serenity House; Alan Thompson, Director of Cabarrus EMS; Major Keith Eury, Concord Police Department; and residents of Serenity House.
 
“The opioid epidemic continues to devastate families here in Cabarrus County and across North Carolina,” said Rep. Hudson. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done thus far, but it’s going to take more of an all-hands-on-deck approach to truly defeat the opioid epidemic. I’m grateful for the tireless work of our local officials, law enforcement, and health care professionals. Serenity House is a great example of that and a beacon of hope for people struggling with addiction. I’ll continue to support our local experts and work with them and others on the frontlines to confront these challenges in our community.”
 
 
 
Alan Thompson, Director of Cabarrus EMS; Alice Harrison, Director of Hope Haven and Serenity House; Rep. Richard Hudson; Major Keith Eury, Concord Police Department.
 
Please see below for highlights and excerpts from the roundtable discussion.
 
Rep. Richard Hudson talks opioid abuse in Cabarrus County
(Salisbury Post, 3/28/2018)
CONCORD — U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson met with staff members of Serenity House in Concord Tuesday for a roundtable discussion about a nationwide crisis.
 
The topic was opioid addiction, a problem far too real for Cabarrus County, according to emergency service and law enforcement personnel who attended.
Tuesday’s talk centered on ways to both prevent and treat opioid addiction. The needs for more recovery centers and increased long-term care were two remedial actions discussed.
 
Preventative measures include means of safely disposing of unused medications. Hudson spoke of DisposeRx, a company based in Pinehurst that manufactures a powder that, when mixed with water and medication, creates a biodegradable, nontoxic gel.
 
Walmart now puts a packet of this powder in every opioid prescription bag, said Hudson.
 
“Maybe, at the end of the day, we just need to find a way to pay to put these packets in whenever you pick up your prescription,” said Hudson. “But I’m not the kind of person that wants a government mandate, an unfunded mandate, for every problem we have.”
At the close of Tuesday’s meeting, Hudson said he will be taking notes from the day’s discussion back with him to Washington.
 
He said he works to apply real-world experiences from service professionals and people recovering from addiction into new legislation. Specifically, he said, he will present points from Tuesday’s discussion to the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on health.
 
“(A)s we look at what the federal government can do to help that’s actually going to help, that’s really going to make a difference. This is really helpful to me,” he said.
 
US Representative Hudson visits Concord, talks opioid crisis and federal response
(WBTV, 3/27/2018)
CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Representative Richard Hudson (R-08) says he was ahead of the curve on the opioid crisis because he lives in his district, comes home on the weekends, does the grocery shopping, and talks to people in the district about what's going on.  He says that's why he first started working on the problem two years ago.
On Tuesday, Hudson visited the Serenity House in Concord.  It's a place where men can get treatment to help them break the addiction of drugs and alcohol.
 
Hudson met with residents, as well as local leaders such as Alice Harrison, Director of Hope Haven and Serenity House, Alan Thompson, Director of Cabarrus EMS, and Major Keith Eury of the Concord Police Department.
 
Hudson highlighted recent efforts that have been made at the federal level to deal with the issue.
 
“Just last week we passed another $4.2 billion to go towards opioids, it’s across the spectrum," Hudson added.  "It’s stopping illegal fentanyl at the border, it’s making sure individuals aren’t doctor shopping getting opioids from 4-5 different doctors, it’s looking at education for parents, educators, physicians…do we have enough treatment beds, absolutely not. And then what do you do after treatment? It takes, I just learned today at this roundtable, it takes as much as 3-4 years to rewire your brain before you can overcome that disease of addiction.”
On Monday, Rep. Hudson welcomed the president’s proposal to combat the opioid crisis and pledged to continue working with the administration, colleagues and state and local officials to raise awareness and find ways to defeat the opioid epidemic.
 
Hudson said on Tuesday that the effort on this issue was truly a bi-partisan response.
 
Government Spending Billions to Fight Opioid Crisis
(Spectrum News, 3/27/2018)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08) joined a roundtable discussion on the opioid crisis, Tuesday, shortly after voting in favor of the $1.3 trillion spending bill, which includes funds to fight the epidemic.
Rep. Hudson said there were more than 200 million opioid prescriptions last year, and 92 percent of people did not use their full prescription.
 
“I even hear of people going to real estate open houses, posing as home buyers so they can steal drugs out of the medicine cabinets,” Rep. Hudson said. “So there are too many of these pills out there. They are being over-prescribed."
 
Less than 2 percent of patients return unused opioids for proper disposal
(North State Journal, 3/28/2018)
Concord — On Tuesday, Serenity House in Concord outside of Charlotte opened its doors to policymakers to discuss ways to tackle opioid addiction.  In a roundtable with local leaders, Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08) heard from administrators of the substance abuse rehabilitation center on their front-lines perspective.
The visit followed two-day hearing last week in Washington, D.C., of the U.S. House Health Subcommittee. Dr. John Holladay, CEO of DisposeRx based in Southern Pines, spoke to the lawmakers about educating the public on proper disposal and handling of medications to help stem the explosion of opioid addiction. DisposeRx makes a powder that mixes with water inside the pill bottle and destroys any unused opioids and makes them biodegradable.
 
 
Background
As a leader on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Hudson continues to be on the front lines of the committee’s work to learn more about how and why the opioid epidemic happened and what legislative solutions can be pursued. He is recognized as the leader on trying to find solutions to help prevent the misuse or diversion of unused opioids by safe, accessible disposal methods.
 
During a two-day Health Subcommittee hearing this month entitled, “Combating the Opioid Crisis: Prevention and Public Health Solutions,” Rep. Hudson questioned witnesses, including Dr. John Holaday, Chairman and CEO of DisposeRx, the country’s leading site-of-use medication disposal company which is located in Southern Pines, N.C., in Rep. Hudson’s district. Rep. Hudson and Dr. Holaday highlighted the importance of educating patients on the proper use, storage and disposal of opioids and offering convenient disposal methods.
 
Rep. Hudson’s full questioning to Dr. Holaday and his responses can be seen here. Dr. Holaday’s testimony as prepared for delivery to the Committee can be read here. Rep. Hudson also questioned Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about the potential of overprescribing and the importance of safe, convenient disposal methods. To watch this questioning, click here.
 
During the hearing, the Health Subcommittee considered more than two dozen bills aimed at boosting public health and prevention efforts, including a bill by Rep. Hudson to direct FDA to work with manufacturers to establish programs for efficient return or destruction of unused Schedule II drugs, with an emphasis on opioids. These methods could include mail-back pouches to secure facilities for incineration, or methods to immediately inactivate/render unattractive unused drugs. In addition, this bill will facilitate utilization of packaging that may reduce overprescribing of opioids. Finally, this bill will require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study new and innovative technologies that claim to be able to safely dispose of opioids and other unused medications. GAO would review and detail the effectiveness of these disposal methods.
 
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden has applauded Rep. Hudson’s idea to study new and innovative technologies that claim to have the capability to safely dispose of opioids and other medications, saying, “Frankly, making it easier to dispose of opioids is just a commonsense idea, and Rep. Richard Hudson is taking opioid disposal another step further. His legislation would require the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study new and innovative technologies that claim to be able to safely dispose of opioids and other unused medications. GAO would review and detail the effectiveness of these disposal methods. This bill would also necessitate the Attorney General to promulgate guidelines for the safe site-of-use in-home disposal of prescription drugs.”
 
Last week, Rep. Hudson welcomed the president’s proposal to combat the opioid crisis and pledged to continue working with the administration, colleagues and state and local officials to raise awareness and find ways to defeat this opioid epidemic.
 
Last month, Rep. Hudson questioned Susan Gibson, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Diversion Control Division at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and spoke of these ideas to safely dispose of unused opioids. On February 15, 2018, he introduced the Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act (H.R. 5041), a bipartisan response to the opioid crisis that will help prevent the misuse or diversion of unused medications by equipping hospice professionals with the legal authority to safely dispose of unused drugs after a hospice patient’s death.
 
Last October, Rep. Hudson shared local stories and highlighted potential legislative solutions, saying, “One idea I’m working on is expanding access to safe ways to dispose of prescription drugs, particularly opioids. DisposeRx is a company in my district that manufactures a powder that mixes with water inside the pill bottle and renders any unused opioids not only inaccessible and inextricable, but also bio-degradable. It’s innovative ideas like this that we need to explore and I look forward to working with colleagues on the Committee to help treat and prevent this opioid addiction.”
 
Because of his critical work and leadership on this issue, Rep. Hudson was the only member of Congress from the North Carolina delegation to attend the White House’s announcement to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency last October.
 
Last Congress, Rep. Hudson helped the committee lead two major initiatives being signed into law that provide critical resources for combating the crisis. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act includes 11 committee bills which ranged from additional resources to combat the epidemic to establishing an inter-agency task force to review, modify and update best practices for pain management and how it is prescribed. It is recognized by leading national advocates as “the critical response we need.” In September 2017, HHS released $144.1 million, largely through CARA to help prevent and treat opioid addiction. The21st Century Cures Act provides $1 billion in state grants to be applied to the fight on the front lines. To learn more, click here.
 
But just as the crisis continues across the United States, Congress and the administration are redoubling efforts. Those actions range from ensuring successful implementation of the laws passed last year to continuing to investigate and identify additional solutions that will help those battling addiction, improve prevention efforts, and support local officials, law enforcement and the health care professionals responding to the crisis.
 
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