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David Sparks Ph.d Hillbilly Heroin
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: October 16, 2017

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Many people associate the prescription opioid epidemic with rural America, where “hillbilly heroin,” as OxyContin is sometimes called, has claimed many lives. One can only speculate but is it possible that opioid abuse coexists with rural life because the pace of life in small rural towns is is a bit slower than in the city. Well, Oregon Congressman Greg Walden from a rural constituency is waging war. was joined by a bipartisan group of more than 50 lawmakers from across the country, who testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee about the effects the opioid epidemic is having in their respective states. The hearing was held to give lawmakers the opportunity to share what they have seen in their communities, as well their ideas for how Congress can help. “In my district, I’ve heard the all too familiar tale of a mother whose eldest son was first prescribed opioids after injuring his ankle while playing basketball. It didn’t take long for him to become addicted. Another parent shared with me the story of his sister, a nurse, who died of an overdose after years of suffering from addiction and bouncing between pharmacies, passing off forged prescriptions. He spoke about how better tracking and treatment could have helped catch his sister's problem earlier and perhaps made counseling more effective. She was only caught because two pharmacies in a small town happened to check with each other. By then it was too late, though. Walden recently led a letter signed by a bipartisan group of Energy and Commerce Committee lawmakers that expanded an investigation into alleged opioid pill dumping by a major drug company.

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