Public hearing: District Government Opioid Crisis Response

Councilmember Vincent C. Gray, Chairperson, Committee on Health and Councilmember Charles Allen, Chairperson, Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety Announce a Joint Public Oversight Roundtable on:

The District Government’s Strategy and Actions to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

Monday, January 28, 2019, 10:00 a.m.
Room 500, John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004

Interested in testifying? Email [email protected]

On Monday, January 28, 2019, Councilmember Vincent C. Gray, Chairperson of the Committee on Health, and Councilmember Charles Allen, Chairperson of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, will hold a joint public oversight roundtable on the District Government’s strategy and actions to combat the opioid epidemic. The roundtable will take place in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., at 10:00 a.m.

The District and states across the country are experiencing an opioid epidemic. In the District, opioid-related deaths have increased substantially in recent years, from 83 opioid-related deaths in 2014, to 114 deaths in 2015, to 231 deaths in 2016, and to 279 deaths in 2017. The opioid supply is also increasingly laced with fentanyl, with 71% of cases involving the presence of fentanyl or fentanyl analogs in 2017. The profile of overdoses in the District is markedly different than in the rest of the country, with 80% of all overdoses due to opioid use occurring among adults between the ages of 40 to 69, and 81% of all deaths among African-Americans. Strikingly, of the District’s opioid users, 22% have been using heroin for more than 40 years, 59% for more than 25 years, and 88% for more than 10 years. These District-specific statistics require a District-specific response.

Following the publication of a series of articles in the Washington Post in mid-December 2018 on the District’s opioid crisis, Mayor Bowser released “LIVE. LONG. DC.”, her administration’s strategic plan to reduce opioid use and misuse and to reduce opioid-related deaths by 50 percent by 2020. The purpose of this roundtable is to examine the opioid epidemic as it presents in the District, as well as to discuss, with specificity, the proposed strategic plan, related federal grant funding, and public health-based collaborations between the District’s health and public safety agencies. In addition, the Committees will engage government witnesses in planning for the implementation of recently-passed Council legislation, the “Opioid Overdose Treatment and Prevention Omnibus Act of 2018” (available at The Committees will also discuss the subject matter of B23-0054, the “Opioid Overdose Prevention Act of 2019”. The stated purpose of B23-0054 is to require the Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) to provide opioid antagonist rescue kits for sworn personnel in order to prevent potential overdose deaths; to require MPD to provide training for all sworn personnel; and to allow for the voluntary surrender of opiates and drug paraphernalia at MPD stations. 

Anyone wishing to testify at the roundtable should contact the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety via email at [email protected] or (202) 724-8275, and provide their name, telephone number, organizational affiliation, and title (if any), by close of business Thursday, January 24. Representatives of organizations will be allowed a maximum of five minutes for oral testimony, and individuals will be allowed a maximum of three minutes. Witnesses should bring twenty double-sided copies of their written testimony and, if possible, also submit a copy of their testimony electronically in advance to [email protected]. Note that government witnesses will testify at the beginning of the roundtable.

For witnesses who are unable to testify at the roundtable, written statements will be made part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted to the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety at [email protected]. The record will close at the end of the business day on February 11, 2019.

January 28, 2019 at 10:00am - 2pm

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