Freshman Congressman Focuses on Health Care Issues, “Shines Spotlight on Stories of Addiction, Hurdles to Treatment”
Congressman Andy Kim is keeping his promise of putting the priorities of NJ-03 voters first by hearing directly from constituents, and his most recent town hall on the opioid epidemic is proof of that.
Here’s what local press is saying:
Insurance gaps are just one of the hurdles those afflicted with substance use disorder face. Housing, transportation, employment, and help navigating social services can mean the difference between life and death.
U.S. Rep. Andy Kim heard about them all Saturday during a two-hour town hall meeting dedicated to the addiction crisis and strategies for fighting it. Held at the Ocean County Library, the event was Kim’s 7th town hall since the freshman Democrat took office in January but his first dedicated solely to one issue.
Kim, D-3rd of Bordentown Township, said he wanted to hear from experts about strategies being used to address the epidemic, as well as local residents and families about how the crisis has impacted them and the problems they’ve faced.
Kim also promised to push for federal action to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for their roles in the addiction crisis, including their marketing practices and tactics.
“It’s a continuing problem not just with opioids, but just in general, the mass marketing of pharmaceuticals in this country is not something other countries do,” he said.
“We’re not going to be able to get the kind of treatment that’s necessary for each and every person until everyone gets the health care they need,” he said. “We absolutely want to make sure everyone in this country, rich or poor, has the health care they need.”
On Saturday, about 100 people gathered at the Ocean County Library here to discuss what more needs to be done
Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., who hosted the town hall event. “What I am here to do today is talk with all of you, many of you who know this issue much better than I do, who have lived it and suffered through the tragedies.”
There was a wealth of collective wisdom in the room, the kind no one wants to acquire from first-hand experience. Several speakers shared heart-rending stories of loss, as well as their frustration and anger over a drug treatment system that one grieving mother called “badly broken.”
The meeting was held at the Toms River branch of the Ocean County library, hosted by Congressman Andy Kim (D-3). He said addiction has been mentioned at every town hall he’s hosted, but he’s just not seeing the same level of urgency in Washington, D.C. According to state figures, there were 3,118 deaths suspected of overdose in 2018. As of June 3, the figure for 2019 is 871.
But these are just statistics, and they hide the personal impact that drugs have. That’s why there were several people at the town hall who told their story.