INTERVIEW: State lawmakers’ plans to battle opioid addiction

SALLY:THIS WEEK STATE LAWMAKERS GOT AN UPDATE ON EFFORTS TO BATTLE THE OPIOID EPIDEMICFOUR PRICE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON OPIOIDS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE IS HERE WITH DETAILS

HOW IS TEXAS DOING WHEN IT COMES TO COMBATING PAIN KILLERS? HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE IT TO THE NATIONYOU REPRESENT THE AMARILLO AREA IT'S ONE OF THE 4 TEXAS CITIES WITH THE HIGH DRUG OVERDOSE NUMBERS IN THE NATION HOW IS THE PROBLEM IMPACTING YOUR HOMETOWN?HOW CAN THE STATE IMPROVE?TEXAS LAWMAKERS ARE LOOKING FOR CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH IN THE STATE

IN A TUESDAY HEARING, EXPERTS WEIGHED IN ON HOW THE NATIONAL PAINKILLER EPIDEMIC TIES TO TEXASCYNTHIA HUMPHREY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ASSOCIATION OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAMS, SAID THAT OF THE TOP 25 CITIES WITH THE HIGHEST DRUG OVERDOSE NUMBERS, FOUR ARE IN TEXAS: AMARILLO, MIDLAND, LONGVIEW AND TEXARKANA HUMPHREY SAID AFTER TESTIFYING THAT THE DEATH TOLL IS STAGGERING"EACH DRUG KIND OF HAS ITS OWN SET OF PECULIARITIES THAT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS, BUT AT THE BOTTOM LINE AT ALL OF THESE IS ADDICTION," HUMPHREYS EXPLAINEDSHARON BRIGNER SERVES AS DEPUTY VICE PRESIDENT FOR STATE POLICY FOR THE PHARMACEUTICAL RESEARCH AND MANUFACTURERS OF AMERICA (PHRMA)

WHILE BRIGNER, A REGISTERED NURSE, SAID THERE IS NO "ONE SIZE FITS ALL [APPROACH] FOR ANY STATE, ANY CITY," THE CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE HOUSE'S OPIOIDS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SELECT COMMITTEE SAID TREATMENT AND PREVENTION WILL NEED A MULTI- PRONGED APPROACH"I AM CONFIDENT THAT WE CAN DO SOME PROACTIVE THINGS, TAKE SOME STEPS AT THE PRESCRIBER LEVEL, DISTRIBUTOR LEVEL, OBVIOUSLY THE MANUFACTURING LEVEL," REP FOUR PRICE, R-AMARILLO, SAID AT A TAX REFORM ROUNDTABLE WITH BUSINESS OWNERS IN AMARILLO, SEN JOHN CORNYN SAID TUESDAY ADDICTS NEED MORE SUPPORT

"SOME OF WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS RESTORE PEOPLE'S CONFIDENCE IN THE FUTURE AND NOT SORT OF RETREAT INTO THIS IDEA OF SELF-MEDICATION THAT CREATES SO MUCH HEARTACHE FOR SO MANY PEOPLE AND SO MANY PROBLEMS IN OUR SOCIETY," CORNYN SAID "WE'RE TRYING TO HELP PEOPLE BREAK THAT CYCLE OF ADDICTION"ALVARADO SAID TEXAS IS AHEAD OF THE CURVE, SHARING THAT THE PROBLEM IS WORSE IN OTHER STATES, BUT COMMANDER KAREN HEAROD, A LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER OVERSEEING TEXAS FOR THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, SAID STAYING AHEAD IS CRUCIAL"IT PREPARES US IF WE DO HAVE FENTANYL COMING TEXAS' WAY, HOW CAN WE GET OUR TREATMENT IN PLACE, AND THEN HOW CAN WE LOOK AT OUR INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ALL

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