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September 27, 2017

On Senate Floor, King Pauses to Recognize that Amid Opioid Crisis, “All Hope is Not Lost”

Announces Bipartisan Resolution Marking September as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) today announced the introduction of a bipartisan resolution designating September as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Earlier in the day, Senator King spoke on the floor of the Senate to share the stories of Maine people in recovery as examples of just how well-funded recovery programs and health insurance that covers treatment can save lives and benefit communities.

“I’m here today because all hope is not lost,” said Senator King in his remarks. “There is ample evidence that treatment [of addiction] can work. This is not a death sentence. Opioid abuse is terrible, and from talking to people that have suffered from it, it literally changes your brain… but it can be escaped. And the reason we know that is there’s data from across the country – but the reason I know that is my friends in Maine: Andrew, Matt and Chris.”

Senator King shared the stories of young people in Maine who are now in recovery. Andrew Kiezulas, from Portland, overcame substance abuse disorders and went on to become President and Co-Founder of Students and Recovery at the University of Southern Maine, and is now pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy at USM’s Muskie School of Public Service. He also talked about Matt Braun from Cape Elizabeth, whose parents fought with their insurance company – which initially refused to cover more than five days of treatment because, they said, he would be a chronically relapsing drug addict – to get his treatment covered. Matt is now applying to medical schools, with the goal of supporting those who are struggling in the same way he did. Finally, he spoke about Chris Poulos from Portland, who spent time in prison prior to overcoming opioid abuse, and later worked in the White House, graduated law school and became a member of the Maine bar. Chris is also a part of a courageous group of Mainers who are choosing to speak out about their struggles with opioid abuse.

Senator King has been a leading proponent of providing adequate funding to fight the heroin and opioid crisis, which kills more than one person per day in Maine. In August, he spoke at Acadia Family Center’s speaker series on the drug and opioid epidemic, where he highlighted a bipartisan push to urge President Trump to lift the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) for residential substance use disorder treatment.

Senator King is hopeful that the resolution – which designates September 2017 as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month– will be taken up by the Senate as early as this week.  

For the full text of the resolution, CLICK HERE

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