According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 90 Americans die each day after overdosing on opioids. Addiction to opioids has become a serious public health issue in the U.S., creating an economic burden of more than $75.8 billion each year. Rep. Alex Mooney (R-West Virginia) joins Robert Traynham to discuss the PROP Act (Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing Act). Click here for part 1 of Combatting Opioid Abuse.
Interview recorded September 6, 2017.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: Congressman, you touched on something I want to double down on. I remember speaking to a friend of mine about the opioid situation a couple months ago, and she wanted to change the subject very quickly. She clearly felt very uncomfortable talking about this. And I got the impression because, "Oh, that s the neighbors down the street. That s not my problem." How do we make sure that everyone realizes no matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter what your background is, you have skin in the game here. How do we convince those individuals that this is not Mary's problem down the street It s also your problem and you and our problem as well.
Mooney: Well, you know, that s a great point. Hardly a meeting goes by in my office where I might be talking about a different issue, and then it trails off into a drug-addiction issue of a family or a loved one. I d say most Americans know somebody, even if it s not their own immediate family -- a neighbor, someone in the neighborhood, from school, from work -- who has had drug-addiction issues. I think that s clear. But a lot of times, folks don t know how to identify it early so they can get the prevention and the treatment before the addiction settles in very strong. So I really think the country has seen this, and employers that I talk to have a hard time, oftentimes, finding folks who can pass the drug test. So folks are aware of it, but you re right in that it s something that they re afraid to talk about. We have to have this conversation in the families first and foremost, in my view, but also in schools and in other areas.
Traynham: Congressman, I think it s really great that you and your colleagues are understanding that this is a national problem. As I mentioned, the President has mentioned this as a national crisis, if you will. But I guess the question is for the folks that are watching at home or perhaps maybe watching on their smart device, they re saying, "I hear this. This is all great at the Washington level, but it doesn t really help me at the state and local level. I need help now." What would you say to your constituent or anyone out there, quite frankly, who s watching the program that says, "I need help today, not tomorrow, today"
Mooney: Well, that would be getting treatment facilities opened. And that has been a concern and a problem. Local communities can work on that. States can work on that. The federal government can provide some funding for that, but there needs to be a push in the local areas to get communities starting. In one of the cities I represent, they ve had a hard time getting housing so folks can get treatment cause local people opposed it. They didn t want it in their neighborhood or in their area.
Traynham: Not in my backyard.
Mooney: Yeah, right. Well, you have to have these things. You have to have it. So let s kind of get over that stigma and be supportive. I mean, it s just something everyone has to realize. This is for the benefit of our communities and our families. It may not be you or your loved one today, but tomorrow it could be. And certainly, it affects your community. When you have folks that are addicted to drugs, they often resort to crime. Well, that s gonna affect you. I know a lot of folks who don t deal with drug-addiction issues directly in their own families, but they ve been broken into so folks can support their drug habit. Well, that is going to affect you. So let s come together as a community, support the rehab, support the treatment, try to identify it, and frankly, report people. It s a hard thing to do to report a loved one or a friend who has drug-addiction issues. But if you really love them, you should get them the help they need now.
Traynham: And who should they call Is it the police office Is it their local protection services, or 911
Mooney: The Department of Social Services or the police. Frankly, you might have to call the police.
Traynham: Sure. Congressman Alex Mooney, Republican from West Virginia, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.
Mooney: Sure thing.
Traynham: And thank you for joining us, as well.For more great conversation swith leaders in your community and across the nation,visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I'm Robert Traynham.
The Asian American Pacific Islander community makes up six percent of the U.S. population, but is growing more than four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population. Asians are the largest group of immigrants to enter the U.S. as immigrants. A conversation with Janelle Wong, Senior Researcher at AAPI Data about the fastest-growing but one of the understudied racial groups in the United States.
The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be hosted this summer in Seattle, with more than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 states and the District of Columbia. Jason Schriml of the Special Olympics USA Games discussed the impact the games and this organization that highlights athletes with intellectual disabilities through highly competitive sports, uplifting experiences, and demonstrating inclusion for all.
Preparations are underway for the 2020 United States Census. A fair and accurate count of all communities is of major importance, as data gathered is used to determine federal funding, congressional representation and more. For some populations, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the process can be of concern due to immigration status, language barriers and fear of providing personal information. John Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC joins Robert Traynham to discuss the importance of an accurate count, especially for the AAPI population in America.
Filipino Americans make up the third largest subgroup of Asian Americans today, with millennials comprising nearly a quarter of this population. And while there about 4 million Filipino and Filipino Americans living in the U.S today, this population is underrepresented in political and leadership roles. Brendan Flores, National Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations joins Robert Traynam to discuss the welfare and well-being of Filipino Americans and efforts to strengthen the personal and professional development of young Filipino Americans.
According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. Asian population increased 72 percent between 2000 and 2015, resulting in the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group. And as this population continues to grow, there remains a lack of involvement in politics and corporate leadership positions. Kendall Kosai, Deputy Director at OCA National discussed programs designed to help high school students explore their identity, and encourage them to become future community leaders.
Korean Americans, like many other Asian Americans, are recent immigrants to the United States, emigrating in large numbers after 1965. As first and second generation Americans, many still have close ties with their homeland, where family and friends still reside. A discussion with Sam Yoon, Executive Director of the Council of Korean Americans on the Korean American community, including their ties to both North and South Korea.
In 2016, there were approximately 27.3 million eligible Latino voters. However, less than half exercised their right to vote in the 2016 Presidential election.
Abigail Golden-Vazquez, Executive Director of the Latinos and Society Program at the Aspen Institute discusses the issues and efforts to boost Latino civic participation. This discussion continues in part 2 of Latinos and Civic Participation.
Interview recorded Sept 6, 2017.
In honor of Women’s History Month, host Sheila Hyland talks with Rebecca Harris, Executive Director, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University, about the work that needs to be done in supporting the 40% of women entrepreneurs in the United States and the barriers that still exist and the help that is out there for women entrepreneurs. Recorded on the Chatham University Campus in Pittsburgh. chatham.edu/cwe
The Underground Railroad Museum in Flushing, OH, is filled with more than 8,000 artifacts that educate the public about its role in freeing slaves in the OH, PA and WV tri-state area. Host Tate Blanchard talks with Dr. John Mattox, museum curator, about this significant part of American History and the more than 100,000 slaves that utilized the Underground Railroad to freedom. www.ugrrf.org
The population of young, eligible voters outnumbers the population of senior voters, according to US News and World Report. And while young people have the power to shape election, first-time voters have a notoriously low turnout on Election Day. The discussion continues in part 2 of Civic Engagement and the First-time Voter.
A discussion with David Thornburgh, President and CEO of the Committee of Seventy.
Interview recorded June 14, 2017.