Monday Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger toured a drug treatment facility in Harford County.
Ruppersberger got a chance to hear from patients and treatment experts at Upper Bay Counseling & Support Services Inc. about how Congress can help communities battle the opioid epidemic.
In early April, the congressman supported a bill that included $3.3 billion to address the opioid and mental health crisis. It also included funds to improve addiction treatment access in rural areas, better monitor prescription drugs and prevent overdoses.
That money was in addition to the $500 million in grant funding that was already approved under the 21st Century Cures Act.
Congressman Ruppersberger says in order for lawmakers to tackle the crisis they have to first understand it and how it affects families.
"It’s not only a drug problem, it's a mental health problem too. So, you have to identify these problems. Once these problems start if they have kids, then it’s going to affect the kids. And it keeps going on over and over again,” said Ruppersberger. “So, if we're going to deal with it you have to go grassroots, you have to go local."
Ruppersberger previously supported efforts to expand access to overdose reversal drugs, reevaluate best practices for pain management and examine the over-prescription of opioids to student athletes and veterans.