Congressman Johnson Oversees Hearing on Opioid Epidemic
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, as Ranking Member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, & Emergency Management, Rep. Johnson examined impact of opioid crisis in Appalachia.
Rep. Johnson focused on the importance of the Affordable Care Act in combating the opioid crisis and how economic development is effected by the explosive use of opioids in places such as North Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
“This is a full-blown crisis that demands the attention of Congress,” said Johnson. “The high rates of substance abuse and mortality in Appalachia compared to the rest of the United States is a serious impediment to sustained economic growth. Although the mortality rate is lower in the Georgia counties in my congressional district covered by the Appalachian Regional Commission, I think there are important lessons to be learned. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past where drug abuse was over criminalized as it was the during the crack epidemic of the 1980s. The government’s response to drugs in the 1980s did not have the effect of easing the problem but instead only intensified the severity of the problem. Hopefully, we have learned some things from our past.”