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Opioid Crisis Awareness Week: Remembering Stories from the Crisis Next Door


WASHINGTON, DC – The opioid crisis touches every community in America, which is why the Energy and Commerce Committee took unprecedented action last Congress under then-Chairman Greg Walden’s (R-OR) leadership to combat this scourge. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act represented the largest Congressional effort to combat a single drug crisis in history, but there is more work that needs to be done.

This week is Opioid Crisis Awareness Week, a time to recommit to an all-hands-on-deck approach to attack this scourge on all fronts. Throughout the week, we will be telling the personal stories from the opioid crisis, stories we heard last year during a roundtable discussion with families and patients who have felt the devastation of the crisis next door.

This is the story of Amanda Gray.

Click here or on the image above for Amanda’s story

Michael Gray, Amanda’s father, shared the story of his daughter, who he said “was a beautiful girl full of life.” Amanda suffered from a mental illness that caused her great pain, leading her to self-medicating that ultimately turned into a heroin addiction. Shortly after she began using, Amanda, just 24 years old, was killed by pure fentanyl laced into heroin. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine – the equivalent of a few grains of salt is deadly.

“It really can hit any family,” stressed Michael during the roundtable. Michael returned to the Energy and Commerce Committee in July to attend a hearing on reining in fentanyl, and Walden thanked him for tirelessly working to prevent the opioid crisis from devastating other families.

Take Action

The SUPPORT Act bolstered our efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl, but we have an opportunity to continue that progress this Congress. The Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act from Rep. John Katko (R-NY) aims to give law enforcement the tools they need to help get illicit fentanyl off our streets without compromising important uses for public health and research.

SITSA passed the House with wide bipartisan support last Congress, and would help prevent fentanyl from taking the lives of people like Amanda Gray. We need to pass it into law.

During Opioid Crisis Awareness Week, Amanda’s story reminds us that we cannot relent in our efforts to combat the opioid crisis. Motivated by Amanda’s story – and the countless similar stories from across the country – we will continue our bipartisan work to stem the tide of addiction and save lives.