Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS


May 18, 2016
Press Release
May 17, 2016

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement today after being named to serve on a conference committee working to complete legislation addressing the opioid addiction epidemic.

“As a Senior Member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic I am pleased that Leader Pelosi has picked me as a Conferee to the legislation addressing the opioid addiction legislation. Opioid addiction is inflicting a savage daily toll on communities and families across America. The Democratic conferees will lead the way in pressing Congress to respond to this national emergency with the seriousness and urgency it requires.

“Sadly, Republicans have obstructed the critical new resources that are desperately needed to make a meaningful difference in the communities facing this tragedy across the nation. With 78 Americans dying of opioid overdoses every day, House Democrats will not stop fighting to get America’s families the prevention, treatment and recovery resources they need to overcome the opioid addiction epidemic.

“I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues as part of our Conference with the Senate to ensure that we lift the arbitrary, and harmful physician treatment cap and to ensure that nurse practitioners and physicians assistants in every community can permanently use their skills and experience to serve those in need of opioid use disorder treatments in their community.

“I want to be clear that we should not be under the illusion that we can adequately respond to this crisis without providing urgently needed resources.  Waiting on the appropriations process is not suitable.  Our states and communities urgently need money now.

“Additionally we should not be forced to cut other discretionarily funded public health programs to provide resources for substance abuse programs. The discretionary funding caps have already left many of our vital public health programs underfunded; forcing additional cuts to those programs in order to provide funding to respond to the opioid epidemic will limit our ability to adequately respond to the opioid crisis as well as to meet the remaining public health needs of our communities.  We do not have to guess how it turns out if we fail to provide the urgent, robust funding that is desperately needed.

“As I stated earlier we are losing 78 Americans each day– we cannot afford anything less than a comprehensive, well-funded federal response.”