Marlo Nash, senior vice president of public policy and mobilization at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, moderated the Capitol Hill briefing, Substance Use and Childhood Trauma: Addressing the Impacts of the Opioid Crisis on Children. Held June 5, this briefing was hosted by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). Frank Kros, executive vice president of Alliance member The Children’s Guild in Baltimore, Maryland, also took part in the briefing, making the case for the importance of trauma-informed care in addressing the opioid epidemic. “Childhood trauma is both the cause and the consequence of the present opioid crisis,” said Kros. “It is, in fact, the most important public health issue of our time.” Panelists also included Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, author of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity and this TED Talk and Renee Wilson-Simmons, executive director of the ACE Awareness Foundation in Memphis. 

The Alliance has urged Congress to address the root causes of addiction and align public policy and federal resources with an approach that includes a framework of prevention and trauma-informed care that treats the whole family. As federal policymakers work to finalize a broad package of legislation in response to the opioid epidemic, we urge you to reach out to your Congressional delegation and share our policy priorities for the final bills.  We have developed talking points you can use  for calls, emails, letters, and meetings with congressional leaders and staffers. In the Senate, the HELP committee has passed S.2680 Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 and the Senate Finance Committee will be considering the Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorders Act of 2018 next week.

If you are interested in engaging with the Alliance to support the bills that align with the Alliance network's policy agenda, contact Carla Plaza, director of public policy and government relations.

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