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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Election 2018

Graphic by Kaitlyn Patterson 20.
Graphic by Kaitlyn Patterson ’20.

PA Senate candidates address ongoing opioid crisis


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid-related emergency-department visits in Pennsylvania increased 81 percent from July 2016 to September 2017, the third highest rates among 16 states studied by CDC.

With the 2018 U.S. Senate elections fast approaching in November, candidates have been outlining their plans to handle an opioid crisis that Gov. Tom Wolf declared a Statewide Disaster Emergency in January.

The midterm elections in 2018 will be particularly important, as it is more important than ever to implement opioid related legislation in the state of Pennsylvania. The three major senate candidates have all worked comprehensively with the opioid crisis, and will look to create solutions to Pennsylvania’s rampant opioid problem.

Graphic by Kaitlyn Patterson ’20.

Lou Barletta (PA-11)

Barletta, a Republican Senate candidate, is particularly concerned with the impact of the opioid crisis on employment in the United States. According to a press release, the economic impact of the opioid crisis can not be understated, with an estimated $25.6 billion impact on the workplace, in the form of lost earnings and employment.

Barletta recently introduced a workforce development bill which highlights his strong stance of improving employment-related problems surrounding the opioid crisis.

“Those suffering from addiction have significant barriers to jobs,” Barletta said following the introduction of the bill. “Gainful employment is inseparable from treatment. A job helps to bring back meaning to life and structure to the aimlessness of addiction. The Treating Barriers to Prosperity Act will give the tools necessary to attack this epidemic head on and help find solutions for the Americans struggling with addiction and their families.”

Jim Christiana (PA-15)

Christiana, a Republican Senate candidate, has a long history of voting for legislation that does not favor the large pharmaceutical companies that in many ways have fueled the opioid crisis.

Pennsylvania state representative Mark Mustio recently endorsed Christiana, saying he is the best candidate to combat the opioid crisis.

“Of the two leading candidates for the U.S. Senate, Jim Christiana is the only lawmaker who has not allowed his votes to be guided by protecting opioid distributors,” Mustio said in a press release. “Jim’s record represents clean hands and good judgment on an issue that’s singlehandedly shredding the social fabric of our communities.”

According to Cristiana, he is committed to preventing the flow of fentanyl into Pennsylvania, and is willing to both stand up to pharmaceutical companies, and create bipartisan legislation that will help end the opioid crisis.

Christiana has supported more than a dozen bipartisan bills to combat the opioid crisis.

Bob Casey (Incumbent)

Bob Casey is the incumbent Democratic Senate candidate who is looking to be re-elected in November. He has supported and authorized a number of bills to combat the opioid crisis. Most recently, Casey led legislation to invest $45 billion address the opioid crisis.

“In my recent travels across Pennsylvania, to communities both large and small, one of the most common concerns in fighting the opioid crisis is the need for more support for local resources,” Casey said in a press release. “This legislation incorporates bipartisan, commonsense principles to make sure we’re providing assistance where it is most needed.”

The bill will provide stable funding to a number of states, and promote the research and long term funding to fight the opioid crisis.

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