Dear Friend,

It's a fact: More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do in motor vehicle crashes.

Between 2002 and 2013, the number of heroin-related deaths in America nearly quadrupled.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that opioids -- a class of drugs that include prescription pain medications and heroin -- were involved in over 28,000 deaths in 2014.

That's why, this week, I joined Senator Ron Wyden, Rep. Earl Blumenauer and doctors, public health professionals and insurers in Portland for a discussion on how we can reduce opioid addiction and prescription drug abuse in Oregon.

Read more from our discussion here >>

Heroin and opioid addiction is devastating Oregon's families. Doctors and nurses see the wreckage first hand, with patients pleading for help to get off pills.

In fact, about 70 percent of heroin overdoses in Oregon start with prescription pain pills. As Dr. Paul Lewis said during our roundtable, "Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing."

I completely agree.

We need to treat America's and Oregon's opioid epidemic as the national medical emergency it is. I look forward to taking what I learned this week back to Washington to pass meaningful legislation to expand access to treatment providers and to ensure that all Americans who need treatment can get the help they need.

All my best,
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