August 10, 2018

Duckworth and St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly Discuss Opioid Crisis and Veterans at Metro East Treatment Facility


[BELLEVILLE, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly yesterday visited an opioid treatment facility in Belleville, Illinois, where they discussed the opioid crisis and how Veterans are affected by it during a roundtable with facility staff. The facility is one of four managed by Chestnut Health Systems, which offers a comprehensive system of community health services to those affected by mental illness, developmental disabilities or substance abuse. A photo of the roundtable is available here.

“It’s heartbreaking that in the 13 months since I last visited Chestnut Health Systems, the opioid epidemic has taken the lives of 40,000 more Americans, with Veterans twice as likely to be killed by an overdose,” Duckworth said. “Enough is enough. It’s long past time for Congress to take the steps required to end this epidemic, including holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for prioritizing their bottom line over American lives. This is not a partisan issue. I’ll continue working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find solutions to treat this preventable disease and help fix the opioid crisis that is devastating communities in Illinois and across the country.”

“As State’s Attorney here in St. Clair County and a veteran in a family of veterans, I’ve shared with many families those terrible moments when they come to grips with the reality that their loved one, who dedicated their life to serving our country, is trapped in the cycle of opioid addiction,” said Kelly. “Senator Duckworth is a valiant partner in our constant, ongoing effort to hold Big Pharma accountable and stop the epidemic ravaging our veterans and tearing apart our families all across Southern Illinois.” 

Duckworth has long been vocal about and helped lead efforts to combat our nation’s opioid and heroin epidemic as she has served in the U.S. House and now in the U.S. Senate. The Senator toured Chestnut Health Systems last year, where she spoke out against a Republican-led Senate healthcare proposal that would have worsened the opioid epidemic by slashing funding for treatment and handing out a tax break of more than $25 billion to pharmaceutical companies. The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act – a piece of legislation Duckworth co-authored requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to make reforms to reduce suicides and improve access to mental health care – was signed into law in 2015. She also helped introduce the bipartisan Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act (CARA), which was signed into law in 2016, to expand community-based prevention and treatment efforts to combat addiction to opioids and heroin. She also cosponsored the Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act to ensure that the VA and the U.S. Department of Defense are working to reduce opioid addition amongst our Veterans