Portman: Staggering Number of Overdose Deaths Underscores Need for Decisive Action to Address Worsening Addiction Crisis

July 14, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) released the following statement after the CDC released preliminary data today showing that more than 93,331 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2020, a record high. 

“The overdose figures released today are as stunning as they are heartbreaking. Never could I have imagined that 93,331 Americans would lose their lives to drug overdoses in a single year. 

“My heart goes out to the countless parents who have lost a loved one to a drug overdose. To the communities that have been torn apart from within. And to the brave law enforcement officers and first responders on the front lines of this epidemic. 

“This crisis is not a new one. Opioid and drug addiction has plagued our nation for decades and we have been working extremely hard at the local, state, and federal level to it. And we were making progress. My home state of Ohio, for instance, saw a 22 percent reduction in Ohio overdose deaths in 2018.

“Sadly, with the release of today’s data, it is abundantly clear that the drug and addiction epidemic is not only resurgent, but far worse than ever before.

“This tragic death toll must serve as a resounding wake-up call and a catalyst for immediate action. Congress should start by passing my CARA 3.0 – sweeping, bipartisan legislation that will bolster evidence-based programs, expand treatment options, and provide communities with the resources they need to save lives. The Biden administration must also take immediate action to secure our southern border and stop the flow of fentanyl pouring into our nation.

“The drug and addiction crisis is raging in America once again. We must take decisive and immediate action to address it. Tens of thousands of American lives are on the line.”