Congressional candidate Lee Auman says that Congressman Robert Aderholt’s remarks about the opioid crisis were irresponsible and demonstrate a total disregard for the people of the district.
A recent report by the American Journal of Public Health showed that Alabama’s Fourth Congressional District has the highest rate of prescription pain killers in the country. There are 1.669 pain medicine prescriptions of the heavily abused drugs for every man, woman, and child in the district. That is by far the highest rate in the world.
Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) who represents the Fourth Congressional District told U.S. News and World Report, “It is deeply saddening to learn that the 4th Congressional District has such a high opioid prescription rate. I think this crisis, particularly in rural America, corresponds directly to President Trump’s popularity in my district. Due to the epidemic of depression, people have turned to prescription drugs to dull the pain. However, I believe that President Trump’s renewed focus on these areas and increasing jobs has resonated here strongly.”
Aderholt’s Democratic opponent in the fall, Lee Auman, took issue with Aderholt’s statement.
“Representative Aderholt’s comments when asked about the severity of the opioid crisis in Alabama’s Fourth District demonstrate a deep misunderstanding of the issue at hand as well as a total disregard for the people of the district,” Auman stated. “District Four has an opioid prescription rate of 1.6 per capita. Rep. Aderholt’s glib response that these drugs are intended by doctors to treat depression shows that he does not care to understand the uses of pain medication or the nature of mental illness. His insistence that the Trump administration’s economic policies are a cure for both depression and the opioid crisis is an insult to the people in this District who are hurting and looking for answers. His refusal to engage in the conversation reinforces that he doesn’t care to join the hard work that our law enforcement and healthcare providers are doing to combat this crisis.”
“The people need a representative who listens to them and provides real solutions to real problems, not an out-of-touch Washingtonian who uses partisan rhetoric to shut down conversation,” Auman concluded.
Alabama, unlike neighboring states, does not hold doctors criminally liable for the reckless over prescribing of narcotics, thus pill mills and “Dr. Feel Goods” are able to operate their unscrupulous practices with no fear of the local authorities. Legislation to change this situation was sponsored by State Representative Christopher John England (D-Tuscaloosa) during the last legislative session. It passed the House but was killed by Senators allied with the powerful Alabama Medical Association in the state Senate.
Over 60,000 Americans were killed last year by drug overdoses. Many of them first became addicted by their doctors’ frivolous over-prescription of opioids.
Auman is the former manager of the Camp McDowell Conference Center.
Aderholt is the dean of the Alabama Congressional Delegation and has a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
The general election will be November 6.