Sen. Tim Kaine comments on McAuliffe healthcare plan

kaine new2Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on Governor Terry McAuliffe’s “A Healthy Virginia” plan and initiatives announced by Attorney General Mark Herring to combat drug abuse in the Commonwealth.

“I’m pleased Governor McAuliffe will act to expand healthcare services to more than 200,000 Virginians and has answered our call to create a Task Force to Combat Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse, which will be a critical tool as we address the rapid spread of opioid abuse across the Commonwealth. Following conversations I’ve had with local leaders, law enforcement, and employers, it’s clear that drug abuse is a serious epidemic that is having a devastating impact on Virginia communities and our workforce. I am pleased that Attorney General Herring will work with law enforcement  to update prescription drug take-back materials for law enforcement officials and increase access to naloxone, a lifesaving drug that members of my staff and I were trained to administer by Project REVIVE in Lebanon. I hope to see continued coordination between public health officials and law enforcement, as well as leaders at the state and federal levels as we work to reduce the number of drug-related deaths in Virginia.”

In June, Kaine joined 11 members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation to call on Governor McAuliffe to establish a statewide task force to address the growing heroin epidemic in Virginia. Kaine has raised concerns over drug abuse in Virginia with White House Drug Policy Acting Director Michael Botticelli and in a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, which focused on the recent fda approval of Zohydro ER and how it could potentially heighten the public health risk of opioid abuse in Virginia.

In addition, Kaine recently addressed a drug court graduation ceremony in Roanoke, visited Richmond-based pharmaceutical company Kaléo, which received fda approval for its new naloxone auto-injector delivery system  EVZIO™, and participated in the Project REVIVE training in Lebanon, where he and other participants learned how to administer naloxone. Kaine has also written to urge the Obama administration to move quickly to allow the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish take-back programs for prescription drugs.