February 08, 2017

Duckworth, Lake County Task Force Discuss Initiatives to Combat Drug Abuse & Curb Skyrocketing Prescription Drug Costs


WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) todaymet with members of the Lake County Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force to discuss the importance of protecting access to treatment and ensuring that lifesaving medications that can prevent opioid overdoses remain affordable for all Illinoisans. A photo of today's meeting is available here.

"The opioid crisis is devastating communities in Illinois and all across the country, and we cannot afford to lose any more of our children to this epidemic. Resolving this crisis requires a comprehensive, fully funded effort from officials at every level of government, and from local community organizations like the Lake County Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force," said Duckworth. "I will work to support federal resources for prevention efforts and addiction treatment, which includes keeping life-saving anti-opioid drugs affordable and accessible for first responders, schools and families."

Senator Duckworth has long worked to address our nation's opioid and heroin epidemic. Last year, Duckworth helped introduce the bipartisan Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act (CARA), which was signed into law last year, to expand community-based prevention and treatment efforts to combat addiction to opioids and heroin. The law increases access to life-saving drugs through law enforcement and first responders. She also cosponsored the PROMISE Act, which passed the House by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, to establish and improve a series of protections and protocols to help state, local and tribal governments fight the opioid crisis in their communities and expand access to anti-opioid drugs like naloxone.

"Recent price hikes to lifesaving medications that can stop opioid overdoses as they occur and others like EpiPens that keep children alive underscore the cost of leaving corporate greed unchecked: when people can't afford the medications they or their children need, lives are at risk," continued Senator Duckworth, who this week joined Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont to call on Kaléo, a pharmaceutical company that makes the naloxone delivery device Evzio, to clarify why it dramatically increased its prices from $690 in 2014 to $4,500 today. "I will continue to work hard to ensure those suffering from opioid addiction have access to life-saving drugs like naloxone, but these overdose-reversing drugs will only remain accessible if they are affordable. Simply put, big pharmaceutical corporations should not be lining their own pockets while pricing middle-class Americans out of being able to afford the medications they need to survive."

Last year, Duckworth spoke out against Mylan Pharmaceutical's outrageous EpiPen price increases, resulting in more than a 500% price increase over the past decade, which threatened the health of children across the country.The Senator will continue to work to ensure pharmaceutical companies are not able to gouge their customers through dramatic price hikes.