Parents who lost children to the opioid crisis are now organizing a nationwide effort to make sure addiction treatment is not pushed to the side as part of healthcare reform.
It is being coordinated through "Save the Michaels House of Hope" in Buffalo.
The parents hope to collect signatures from online petitions and letters to the U.S. Senate asking the Senators to make sure that addiction treatment is not forgotten as they review the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that was passed by the House of Representatives.
For these parents who lost children, they are concerned that the AHCA could cut funding for Medicaid which many addicts use to pay for treatment.
There is also worry that changes to parity provisions for people with existing conditions will make it harder for people with addiction and depression to get medical coverage.
You can view the petition here:https://www.change.org/p/u-s-senate-support-the-affordable-care-act-and-fight-against-the-ahca-being-passed-by-the-senate
Here in Erie County, there have been 8 overdose deaths just since this past Saturday. It brings the total for the year to 40 confirmed overdose deaths with a 122 suspected.
Congressman Chris Collins voted for and supports efforts to see the AHCA voted into law. Collins' office issued the following statement concerning the issue:
"Everyday we see the tragic impact of this nationwide epidemic. Too many families have lost loved ones to opioid and heroin addiction. Government officials at all levels must make this crisis a priority.
Last month, I was proud to announce that, as a part of the of the 21st Century Cures Act, HHS allocated over $25 million dollars to New York State to combat this epidemic. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I will continue to work with my colleagues on bipartisan solutions to assist those dealing with addiction and prevent future tragedies.
I am confident that New Yorker's will continue to have access to opioid addiction treatment following the passage of the AHCA in the Senate and will continue to advocate for additional action on the federal level."
7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his reports.