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Combating the Opioid Crisis

There has been an increasing presence of heroin and opioid abuse in Michigan which has sadly led to numerous overdoses and deaths. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, I’ve been working with my colleagues to foster awareness, develop best practices, and promote collaboration to address problems associated with drug addiction. I have also met frequently with stakeholders in Michigan to discuss how local officials are combating this growing epidemic. In March 2017, Rep. Debbie Dingell and I introduced Jessie’s Law, a bill to ensure doctors have access to the information they need so they can safely treat their patients and prevent unknowingly prescribing powerful opioid medications to those struggling with addiction. Jessie's Law was signed into law in October 2018.

In February 2018, Rep. Debbie Dingell and I introduced H.R. 5041, the Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act, which will help prevent the misuse or diversion of unused medications by equipping hospice professionals with the legal authority to safely dispose of unused drugs after a hospice patient’s death. H.R. 5041 was also signed into law in 2018.

Combating the opioid crisis is a leading priority for me and my colleagues in Congress and requires an all-hands-on-deck response. In June 2018, the House passed H.R.6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which encompasses the House’s collective effort to address opioid abuse. It was signed into law in October 2018. Supported by over 161 patient advocacy groups, H.R.6 is the largest legislative response to date to fight the opioid epidemic. 

Throughout Congress’ discussion on the opioid crisis, I have supported maintaining access to medication for those who legitimately need them.  H.R.6 required the FDA Commissioner to publish a statement saying the opioid prescribing guidelines are not intended to limit or deny access to patients with a legitimate medical purpose.  Additionally, in October 2019, HHS released a guide for clinicians on discontinuing long-term use of opioid medication.  The guide acknowledges that abruptly changing a patient’s regimen could cause potential harm and any changes should be on a case by case basis, based on discussions with the patients.  

Additionally, my colleagues and I on the Energy and Commerce Committee have held hearings to investigate and examine the next wave of the opioid crisis. During a May 2018 hearing, I had the opportunity to question drug distributors about alleged pill dumping.

Congress has appropriated billions in funding for a variety of grants that seek to aid local communities as they respond to this crisis. Below are a few of the available grants opportunities:

Furthermore, during the 114th Congress I supported the 21st Century Cures Act, a landmark initiative that aims to accelerate new cures and treatments for our most pressing diseases. The 21st Century Cures Act also awards federal grants to states struggling to fight against the opioid abuse crisis by giving them the tools to implement prevention programs and greater accountability and better training for opioid prescribers.

Legislation and Reports

02/15/2018 - Sponsored: H.R.5041, Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act
03/15/2017 - Sponsored: H.R.5009, Jessie’s Law
06/08/2018 - Cosponsored: H.R.5892, To create an Advisory Committee to advise the Secretary of Labor on actions the Department can take to address opioid abuse in the workplace.
05/07/2018 - Cosponsored: H.R.5695, Emmett’s Law
02/16/2017 - Cosponsored: H.R.1057, STOP Act
April 2019 - The Role of Opioid Prices in the Evolving Opioid Crisis


10/31/2019 - Lansing State Journal op-ed: Tackling the opioid crisis one year later
04/16/2019 - Monroe News op-ed: Redoubling our efforts to fight the opioid crisis
07/08/2018 - Lansing State Journal op-ed: Fight back against opioid crisis
06/09/2018 - Hillsdale Daily News op-ed: Finding solutions to the opioid crisis
10/31/2017 - Morning Consult op-ed: Multi-Pronged Approach Needed in Opioid Fight
09/22/2017 - Detroit Free Press op-ed: Bipartisan Jessie's Law can help prevent opioid overdoses
05/01/2017 - Monroe News op-ed: Offering hope, help for drug epidemic
06/12/2016 - Jackson Cit Pat op-ed: Heroin addiction requires comprehensive action
04/08/2016 - Daily Telegram op-ed: Coming together to combat the heroin epidemic
01/15/2016 - Concord Monitor op-ed: Awareness, empathy key in addiction fight


10/23/2019 - Walberg Encourages Action on Drug Take Back Day
11/30/2018 - Walberg Mourns Loss of Christopher Risner
09/28/2018 - Walberg Champions Landmark Legislation to Fight Opioid Crisis
06/13/2018 - Walberg shares Jessie's Law story
​06/13/2018 - WLNS: Lawmakers Working to Curb Opioid Crisis
06/13/2018 - WILX: Walberg Sponsors Opioid Legislation
​06/12/2018 - Walberg Bill to Prevent Opioid Misuse Passes House
06/12/2018 - Jessie's Law Passes the House
06/04/2018 - The Story Behind Jessie's Law
05/09/2018 - WLNS: Bipartisan Walberg Bills to Combat Opioid Crisis Clear Committee
05/08/2018 - Walberg, Committee Press Drug Distributors on Alleged Pill Dumping
04/19/2018 - Walberg Champions Bipartisan Solutions to Combat Opioid Crisis
03/30/2018 - WLNS: Walberg, Mike Hirst Speak to Students About Dangers of Drug Addiction
03/29/2018 - WTOL: Walberg Hosts Monroe Forum on Combating Opioid Crisis
03/01/2018 - Walberg Champions Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Opioid Abuse
02/16/2018 - Walberg Chairs Hearing on Impact of Opioids in the Workplace
01/10/2018 - Walberg, Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Release 2018 Legislative Agenda
10/25/2017 - Walberg Questions Officials on Federal Response to Opioid Crisis
10/23/2017 - Walberg Encourages Participation in Drug Take Back Day
10/11/2017 - Walberg Testifies on Opioid Crisis, Highlights Jessie's Law
07/12/2017 - Walberg, State Leaders Discuss Ways to Combat Opioid Epidemic
06/29/2017 - WLNS: Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Advocates for 'Jessie's Law'
06/29/2017 - 13 ABC: Bipartisan lawmakers outline agenda to tackle opioid crisis 
06/28/2017 - Walberg, Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Unveil Legislative Agenda 
05/11/2017 - Walberg participates in WLNS town hall at Michigan Theatre in Jackson
03/21/2017 - Fentanyl: The Next Wave of the Opioid Crisis
03/07/2017 - WLNS: On opioid addiction epidemic: “This is a very complex problem” 
02/28/2017 - WILX: Walberg Invites Jackson Drug Counselor to President's Joint Address
10/11/2016 - WTOL: Lenawee students hear about heroin epidemic
09/19/2016 - WTOL: Forum at Bedford High School addresses heroin and opioid epidemic
09/19/2016 - 13abc: Walberg hosts heroin epidemic forum at Bedford High School
05/23/2016 - JTV: Forum on Combating the Heroin Epidemic 
05/23/2016 - WLNS: Heroin addiction stories shared at Jackson High School
05/23/2016 - WLNS: Heroin epidemic in focus in Jackson County
05/18/2016 - WOOD TV: New federal effort to address opioid drug abuse 
05/17/2016 - WLNS: Heroin overdoses continue at high rate
05/13/2016 - WLNS: Walberg "Very Vocal" in the Fight Against Heroin Epidemic
05/12/2016 - Walberg: All Hands on Deck to Combat Heroin
05/11/2016 - Walberg Votes to Combat Opioid Epidemic, Protect Most Vulnerable
04/30/2016 - WLNS: National drug take back day aims to curb addiction
04/30/2016 - WLNS: Walberg Introduces ‘Jessie’s Law’ to Combat Opioid Epidemic
04/28/2016 - VIDEO: Walberg Encourages Participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
03/22/2016 - Walberg Questions the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy
01/07/2016 - Walberg: Behind Tragic Heroin Statistics are Real People
01/07/2016 - WILX: Fighting Heroin and Drug Addiction a Top Priority for Walberg
12/02/2015 - Walberg Works to Combat Heroin and Prescription Drug Epidemic
06/03/2015 - Walberg: We need a robust strategy to combat heroin abuse


08/07/2020 - Walberg Announces $1 Million Grant to Combat Opioid Crisis in Lenawee County
01/30/2020 - House Passes Walberg-Backed Bill to Crack Down on Fentanyl
10/04/2019 - Walberg to Whitmer: Why did you veto funding for Jackson opioid rehab home? 
04/26/2019 - Walberg speaks to students at Northwest High School about substance abuse
02/01/2019 - Walberg meets with the Monroe County Substance Abuse Coalition
11/20/2018 - Walberg attends opening of St. Joseph Center of Hope in Monroe
11/04/2018 - Walberg speaks at Tri-County Opioid Awareness Summit in Dimondale
10/24/2018 - President Trump Signs Walberg Opioid Legislation into Law
09/28/2018 - House Passes Sweeping Opioid Legislation with Walberg, Dingell Provisions
09/25/2018 - Walberg speaks at a substance abuse forum at Adrian High School
08/23/2018 - Walberg meets with Director Elmer Hitt of the Jackson Police Department
08/18/2018 - Walberg participates in the 4th annual Recovery Out Loud walk with the Jackson Area Recovery Community
07/21/2018 - Walberg discusses substance abuse and recovery programs at Paula’s House in Monroe
06/12/2018 - U.S. House passes bill named for Ann Arbor woman
06/12/2018 - Walberg, Dingell Bills to Tackle Opioid Crisis Pass the House
06/11/2018 - Walberg tours substance abuse and transitional housing center in Adrian
05/09/2018 - Committee Approves Two Bipartisan Walberg Bills to Combat Opioid Crisis
05/08/2018 - Walberg, Committee Press Drug Distributors on Alleged Pill Dumping
05/08/2018 - Washington Post: Drug executives express regret over opioid crisis, one tells Congress his company contributed to the epidemic
04/26/2018 - Adrian Daily Telegram: Unwanted meds collection on Saturday in Lenawee County
04/24/2018 - Walberg Releases PSA Encouraging Action on Drug Take Back Day
03/31/2018 - Monroe News: Panelists: More changes needed to deal with opioid crisis
03/29/2018 - Ann Arbor News: U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg hosting forum in Saline on substance abuse
03/28/2018 - Hillsdale Daily News: Opioid panel highlights drug issues
03/26/2018 - Monroe News: Walberg community forum to discuss opioid crisis
03/23/2018 - Walberg Champions 'Jessie's Law' to Bolster Response to Opioid Epidemic
02/16/2018 - Walberg Chairs Hearing Examining Impacts of Opioids in the Workplace
02/15/2018 - Walberg Leads Bipartisan Effort to Prevent Opioid Abuse
02/08/2018 - Walberg meets with Srsly Chelsea and Dexter to discuss substance abuse issues
01/10/2018 - Walberg, Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Release 2018 Legislative Agenda
10/27/2017 - Detroit News: Trump: Opioid crisis a public health emergency
10/27/2017 - Hillsdale Daily News: Drug boxes allow disposal of medication
10/27/2017 - MLive: Trump declares opioid addiction a health emergency
10/26/2017 - Walberg Commends President’s Actions to Combat Opioid Epidemic
09/23/2017 - Monroe News: County gets $125,000 grant to combat youth drug abuse
09/21/2017 - Jackson Cit Pat: Drug prevention coalition receives $125,000 grant to combat opioid epidemic
09/21/2017 - Walberg Announces Drug-Free Communities Grants to Combat Youth Drug Abuse
09/20/2017 - Walberg meets with local leaders combating drug addiction in Monroe County
09/03/2017 - Adrian Daily Telegram: Walberg meets with officials on opioid epidemic
08/31/2017 - Walberg visits the new Substance Abuse Engagement Center in Adrian
08/31/2017 - Walberg meets with HALO Lenawee and Lenawee County Sheriff's office
08/21/2017 - Reps. Walberg, Dingell Join Sheriff Clayton for Opioid Town Hall
08/21/2017 - Ann Arbor News: Watch community discussion on opioid, mental health crisis
06/27/2017 - Walberg, Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Unveil Legislative Agenda
04/27/2017 - Walberg Highlights National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
03/18/2017 - Ann Arbor News: 'Jessie's Law' named after Ann Arbor woman who died of opioid overdose
03/15/2017 - Walberg, Dingell Introduce “Jessie’s Law” to Bolster Fight Against Opioid Epidemic and Assist Recovering Addicts
03/06/2017 - Jackson Cit Pat: U.S. Rep. visits jail, recovery center for first-hand look at addiction
02/27/2017 - Jackson Cit Pat: Jackson drug-prevention advocate invited to Donald Trump's address
02/27/2017 - Walberg Invites Substance Abuse Prevention Advocate from Jackson to President Trump’s Joint Address
02/08/2017 - Walberg meets with Srsly Chelsea and Srsly Dexter to discuss substance abuse issues
01/16/2017 - Walberg tours the Salvation Army Harbor Light Treatment Center in Monroe
11/30/2016 - Walberg Votes to Provide Greater Resources to Combat Heroin Epidemic
10/20/2016 - Walberg attends Jackson County Task Force on Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse
10/19/2016 - Walberg Encourages Participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
10/10/2016 - Walberg speaks with Lenawee County students during Steered Straight program
09/20/2016 - Monroe News editorial: Our View: Education essential in heroin epidemic
09/20/2016 - Monroe News: Walberg hosts panel speaking about heroin epidemic
09/19/2016 - Walberg hosts student forum at Bedford High School on combating heroin epidemic
09/15/2016 - Walberg meets with the Michigan State Police in Monroe to discuss combating drug trafficking
08/09/2016 - Walberg tours Home of New Vision to talk about recovery programs
07/27/2016 - Congressman Applauds Heroin Epidemic Act Signed into Law
07/25/2016 - Comprehensive Response to Heroin Epidemic Now Law of the Land
07/09/2016 - Hillsdale Daily News: Federal government increases funding to combat heroin epidemic
07/08/2016 - Walberg Applauds Passage of Comprehensive Opioid Response
07/07/2016 - Walberg, Dingell Amendment to Boost Resources to Combat Heroin Epidemic Passes House
06/27/2016 - JTV Presents Special “Bart Hawley Show” Episode on Heroin Epidemic
05/20/2016 - Coldwater Daily Reporter: U.S. House passes heroin, opiods legislation
05/19/2016 - Jackson Cit Pat: Rep. Walberg hosting community forum on combating heroin epidemic
05/13/2016 - 18 Bills: House Takes Comprehensive Action to Combat Heroin and Opioid Epidemic
05/12/2016 - Walberg: All Hands on Deck to Combat Heroin and Opioid Epidemic
05/11/2016 - House Passes Walberg-Backed Bills to Combat Opioid Epidemic, Protect Most Vulnerable
04/29/2016 - Drug Take Back Day to be held Saturday
04/29/2016 - Pill drop-off day set for Saturday at Adrian hospital
04/29/2016 - Walberg Introduces Bipartisan ‘Jessie’s Law’ to Combat Opioid Epidemic
04/26/2016 - Walberg Encourages Participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
04/25/2016 - Multiple Heroin overdoses over the weekend show how addicting drug is
03/25/2016 - Lenawee County addresses heroin problem at addiction summit
03/24/2016 - Walberg speaks at the Lenawee Addiction Summit at Siena Heights University
03/24/2016 - April Demers: Making a Difference in Monroe County
03/23/2016 - Walberg Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Efforts Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect
03/07/2016 - Walberg meets with Mike Hirst from Andy's Angels in Jackson County
03/03/2016 - Walberg Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill To Help Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse
02/03/2016 - Walberg meets with members of SRSLY Chelsea and the Eaton County Substance Advisory Group
12/26/2015 - Heroin use a growing concern in Hillsdale County
12/14/2015 - Walberg Continues Commitment to Combat Heroin and Prescription Opioid Epidemic
07/21/2015 - Walberg meets with community leaders from the Monroe County Substance Abuse Coalition
12/05/2014 - Walberg presents a Drug-Free Communities grant award to the Monroe County Substance Abuse Coalition