The heroin and opioid epidemic has ravaged Virginia and our nation, as the number of deaths caused by drug overdoses now far exceeds deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents and by firearms each year.
As a State Senator, Jennifer served on the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse, and worked to change how doctors prescribe opioids, as well as to improve access to treatment for addiction and overdoses. She patroned and passed bills to improve Virginia’s prescription monitoring program, helped get the lifesaving overdose-reversal drug Narcan into the hands of more people, and allowed Child Protective Services to help substance-exposed newborns and their mothers gain access to more resources to get and stay clean. She also supported and advocated for Drug Courts, Virginia’s Good Samaritan law, and laws that allow police and prosecutors to pursue charges against predatory drug dealers.
In Congress, Jennifer has continued to work to secure funding for substance use prevention and treatment, to stem the overprescribing of dangerous opioids, and to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable healthcare, including treatment services.
Jennifer has been fighting hard in Congress as an advocate for addiction prevention and recovery efforts. She is a founding member of the bipartisan Freshmen Working Group on Addiction and focuses on legislation that is aimed at saving lives. In July 2019, she introduced, and passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, the bipartisan Expanding Findings for Federal Opioid Research and Treatment (EFFORT) Act. This bill was widely supported by the scientific community studying addiction and would direct the National Science Foundation to expand research on opioid addiction. Jennifer understands that addiction is an illness that impacts too many families in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. She is working in Congress to listen and learn from her constituents and move toward productive and concrete actions to stop the cycle of addiction.