State Lawmakers Channel Grief Into Fight Against Opioids

ST. PAUL (AP) – In statehouses across the country, lawmakers with loved ones who fell victim to drugs are leading the fight against the nation’s deadly opioid-abuse crisis, drawing on tragic personal experience to attack the problem.

In Minnesota, for example, state Senator Chris Eaton’s daughter died of a heroin overdose in 2007. Eaton has since spearheaded a law granting immunity to 911 callers who report an O.D. Politicians in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and other places have also channeled family members’ struggles with addiction into legislation.

Public health officials say opioid abuse has become an epidemic. Roughly 33,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up by more than 33 percent since 2010.

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