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

Nov 25, 2019 In The News

“We lost a bright and intelligent human being, a visionary, an entrepreneur. We lost a person that loved others.” I heard those words from a mother named Tonya, speaking about her son, Blake, at a roundtable in my Oregon district recently.

Nov 21, 2019 In The News

Senate and House lawmakers introduced a bill that would fund 1,000 additional medical residency positions in the next five years to address an anticipated physician shortage and to combat the ongoing opioid crisis.

Jun 10, 2019 In The News

WASHINGTON (CN) – Between 1999 and 2017, nearly 400,000 people in the United States died from overdoses involving opioids and by 2017, over 2 million people had been diagnosed with an opioid use disorder. Legal aid may be the key to facilitating recovery for them.

The Legal Services Corporation, a nonprofit organization established by Congress to provide legal services to low-income Americans, shared these facts Monday along with 13 recommendations on how to better integrate legal services in communities to confront this epidemic.

Jun 6, 2019 In The News

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation’s (LSC) Opioid Task Force will release its report on Monday, June 10, offering recommendations on how legal aid providers can collaborate with the medical, judicial, law enforcement, and other communities to best confront the opioid crisis. The event, to be held in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, is sponsored by the House Access to Civil Legal Services Caucus, whose four Co-Chairs will speak: Representatives Susan Brooks (IN-5), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Joseph P. Kennedy III (MA-4), and Fred Upton (MI-6).

May 6, 2019 In The News

U.S. Rep Susan Brooks (R-IN) on May 1 introduced bipartisan legislation that would authorize more medical residency positions across the country to help combat the ongoing opioid crisis.

Rep. Brooks is an original cosponsor of the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019, H.R. 2439, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), which would “increase the otherwise applicable resident limit for each qualifying hospital” through 2025, according to the text of the bill.

May 4, 2019 In The News

On Thursday, U.S. Representatives Susan W. Brooks (R-Ind.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019, to train more doctors equipped to combat the opioid epidemic.

May 2, 2019 News Releases

WASHINGTON, DCToday, U.S. Representatives Susan W. Brooks (R-IN), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Annie Kuster (D-NH) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019, to train more doctors equipped to combat the opioid epidemic. 

Feb 27, 2019 In The News

The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday approved bipartisan legislation U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) authored to turn the Poison Control Network into part of the nation’s preparedness and response to the opioid crisis.

Feb 26, 2019 In The News

The House on Monday passed the bipartisan Poison Center Network Enhancement Act to give the network more leeway to help with the opioid crisis. The bill funds the poison control network phone number and would also give people the ability to text the network. “The bill is a critical piece of the puzzle because it allows the national network of poison control centers to help people who are struggling with addiction by offering free, confidential and expert medical advice at all hours, every day of the year,” Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., said in a statement.

Feb 25, 2019 News Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 501, the Poison Center Network Enhancement Act of 2019, legislation authored by Congress Members Susan W. Brooks (R-IN), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) that will assist with potential poison exposures and help combat the national opioid epidemic.