U.S. Senators Bob Menenedez and Cory Booker and Congressman Bill Pascrell hosted a summit at Paterson’s St. Joseph’s Hospital to address New Jersey’s and the nation’s growing issue with opiate addiction. The officials say that the growing issue is due, in part, to over-prescription of such drugs by medical professionals. According to the elected officials, because opioids often lead to heroin addiction, alternative steps need to be taken in order to “curb the scourge” that drugs have had on communities nationwide.

“Nearly two million Americans are suffering from addiction to prescription opioids,” Menendez said. “There is hardly a community that has not been touched.” According to the Senator, while he hopes that the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) can be passed in the House as it was in the Senate to begin tackling such issues, more must be done.

According to Menendez, the U.S. needs to move away from “a disease-based system to a prevention-based system.” He said that, instead of tackling the issue after addiction has already occurred, significant care should be taken beforehand to make sure no such addiction is fostered.

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