U.S. Rep. David J. Trone (D-Md.) is leading a new group formed by House freshmen seeking ways to combat drug addiction in the United States.
Trone announced Thursday that he’ll be the chairman of the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction, a bipartisan group comprised of 36 newly-elected lawmakers. They’ll aim to understand the impacts of addiction and promote policies to reduce overdoses and deaths, Trone said.
It’s a personal issue for the Maryland lawmaker.
“When my 24-year old nephew Ian died of an opioid overdose in 2016, my family experienced the heartbreak of losing a loved one to addiction firsthand,” Trone said in a statement. “No family should have to wrestle with this kind of grief, yet over 70,000 people died of drug overdoses last year alone.
About 68 percent of the more than 70,000 U.S. drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
“My colleagues and I are ready to fight back,” Trone said. “This working group will lend fresh eyes to one of the most devastating crises facing our country and serve as a catalyst for bipartisan cooperation and action.”
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) is among the GOP members. “The crisis of opioid addiction affects all people, regardless of race, sex, religion, ethnicity, financial status or political party affiliation,” he said in a statement. “Fighting to end the scourge of opioids isn’t a political issue, it’s a human issue. I am proud to be in this working group of freshman members who are committed to taking real steps to address this crisis in a bipartisan and actionable way.”
Robin Bravender is the Washington bureau chief for States Newsroom.