Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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Addressing Substance Abuse


Indiana is one of four states where the drug overdose mortality rate has quadrupled since 1999. It is estimated that more than 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Over the past 10 years, more than 2,000 Hoosiers have died from overdoses of opioids, including fentanyl, heroin, hydrocodone, methadone and morphine. This is a crisis for Indiana and for our nation, and addressing it is a priority for me in Congress.

The reality is that although Americans make up just five percent of the world’s population, 80 percent of the global opioid supply is consumed right here in the United States. Improper prescribing practices are one of the root causes of this national epidemic. I’ve seen the impact of overprescription of legal, prescription drugs throughout my career as a Deputy Mayor, U.S. Attorney, and member of Congress. I’ve heard from Hoosier medical schools and professionals that more training and consistent guidelines are needed when it comes to pain management and prescribing practices of these sometimes necessary and incredibly powerful prescription drugs. It’s why I introduced H.R. 4641, which established a task-force of providers, pain management specialists, patient advocates, people in recovery and the relevant federal agencies to review, modify and update best practices for pain management and guidelines for prescribers of pain medication that were released by the Centers for Disease Control in 2016.

This legislation became law in 2016 as one piece of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). CARA strives to curb prescription opioid abuse and heroin use through enhanced prevention, treatment, recovery, education and law enforcement efforts. I will continue to work in Congress to offer common sense solutions to address this crisis that has devastated so many Hoosier families and communities. In addition, I will continue to work with President Trump and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, head of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, to address heroin and opioid abuse in this country.

To read a blog post I wrote for the American Legislative Exchange Council on how government at every level is working together to address heroin and opioid abuse, click here.

To watch a statement I made about why legislation like H.R. 4641 and CARA are so important, click here.

To watch my statement in the Health Subcommittee about the heroin and opioid epidemic in Indiana and our country, click here

To learn more about work done to combat the opioid and heroin crisis, visit Energy and Commerce's website here

More on Addressing Substance Abuse

Mar 22, 2018 News Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – The opioid epidemic continues to sweep the nation. In order to effectively combat this complex crisis, it is important to work together. Poison control centers are an important part of the solution and are already on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic.

Feb 9, 2018 News Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed a bicameral bipartisan budget agreement to keep the government fully operational, boost defense spending, increasing disaster relief funding, support community health centers and provide funding to combat the opioid crisis. 

Jan 30, 2018 News Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) is pleased to announce Ann Vermilion, Administrative Director of Marion General Hospital and Chair of the Grant County Opioid and Substance Abuse Task Force, as her guest for President Trump’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress tonight. 

Combating the Opioid Crisis in our Community

Jan 26, 2018 In The News

Marion’s own Ann Vermilion has been chosen by Rep. Susan Brooks to attend President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Jan. 30.

Vermilion, administrative director of Medical Staff Services and community outreach for Marion General Hospital, said received a personal phone call from Brooks over Christmas break about the invite.

“I was honored,” she said. “I was without words when she called me.”

Jan 21, 2018 In The News

ANDERSON — Rep. Susan Brooks doesn’t expect an effort by Republicans in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in 2018, but anticipates some legislation will be considered.

During an interview with The Herald Bulletin last Monday, Brooks said that people don’t realize that the tax cut legislation signed by President Donald Trump included a repeal of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

Jan 20, 2018 In The News

ANDERSON — Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks believes the importation of fentanyl into the U.S. is a significant health problem and she is co-sponsoring legislation in an effort to lower the number of overdose deaths.

Brooks, R-5th District, is a co-sponsor of the STOP (Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and is one of eight Republicans from Indiana who have signed on board.

“Fentanyl is the primary reason there are so many overdose deaths,” she said.

Jan 7, 2018 In The News


A prevailing problem in Grant County is at the top of Rep. Susan Brooks’ list for 2018.

The opioid crisis claimed plenty of lives in the county in 2017. By the end of November, overdose deaths had climbed to 24, a number that continued to grow for the remainder of the year.

“We haven’t turned the corner yet in the state or the county on the number of people dying from addiction and overdoses,” Brooks said in a phone interview with the Chronicle-Tribune Friday.

Dec 3, 2017 In The News

KOKOMO — Garrett Young believes he has been to hell.

Young, 23, is a recovering spice addict who for two years smoked the synthetic drug each day, waking up in the mornings and probing the carpet for another bowl of spice.

When high? Life felt right, he says. Normal.

Coming down off the drug? Every time was miserable, a daily withdrawal. Another chapter in the addict’s relentless journey for the next brief, unsatisfying respite.

But one day, a time preceded by stretches of homelessness and nights spent in a Little League park, Young’s eyes were opened.

Nov 1, 2017 News Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, conducted their last meeting and released their final recommendations.

Oct 31, 2017 In The News

175 Americans die of opioid overdose every two and a half weeks.

The crowd at the 8th Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium fell silent at that number.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave the keynote address at the symposium in Indianapolis Monday afternoon. He stressed this national problem is a disease. 

“This epidemic started not on our street corners, but in our doctor's offices, in our hospitals," Christie said. "We created this problem, we did. People are dying because we refuse to acknowledge the problem we created."