Donnelly, Joe in officeWashington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly released the following statement in response to President Obama’s call during last evening’s State of the Union for bipartisan action to combat prescription drug abuse.

Donnelly said, “The opioid abuse and heroin epidemic is devastating families and communities across Indiana and our country. I was pleased to hear President Obama talk about helping people battling prescription drug abuse as a place for bipartisan action. This epidemic will take all of us – doctors, pharmacists, public health professionals, families, educators, law enforcement, and federal, state, and local officials – working together.”

For two years, Donnelly has been working to combat the opioid abuse and heroin epidemics in Indiana and across the nation. He has listened to Hoosiers, introduced bipartisan legislation, partnered with federal, state, and local officials, and brought together stakeholders. Donnelly reintroduced the bipartisan Heroin and Prescription Opioid Abuse Prevention, Education, and Enforcement Act with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) in April, 2015; hosted a bipartisan roundtable discussion at IUPUI with U.S. Representative Susan Brooks (IN-05), Indiana and federal health officials, doctors, and pharmacists to hear a range of perspectives about best practices to help curb the opioid abuse epidemic; and made recommendations to the Governor’s Drug Task Force, providing suggestions for short- and long-term responses to Indiana’s addiction problems. In November 2015, the Protecting our Infants Act to help newborns suffering from opioid withdrawal and painful symptoms associated with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which Donnelly cosponsored and helped pass the Senate, was signed into law by President Obama.

Both state and federal officials are acting on some of the bipartisan policies Donnelly has advocated for, including improving prescribing practices and enhancing prescriber engagement, raising public awareness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse and heroin use, and better utilizing prescription drug monitoring programs at the state level.