Efforts to Curb Opioid Epidemic and Recap of Mark’s 65th Town Hall

June 18, 2018
DeSaulnier Digest

Dear Contra Costa County Residents:

As the House of Representatives prepares for another busy week, below is a snapshot of our recent work in Washington, DC and at home in Contra Costa County.

I am also pleased to invite you to attend our upcoming town hall on protecting our environment at Campolindo High School on Monday, July 2nd at 6:30 p.m. Earlier this year, we asked Contra Costa residents to vote on town hall topics, and we listened - protecting the environment was at the top of your list! During the town hall, we will discuss the major environmental laws that protect our air, water, wildlife, and open spaces, and you will have the opportunity ask questions and share thoughts on this important issue.

Protecting the Environment Town Hall
Monday, July 2, 2018
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Campolindo High School
Multi-Purpose Room
300 Moraga Road
Moraga, CA 94556
Doors Open at 6:00 p.m.

Please RSVP by visiting https://desaulnier.house.gov/town-hall-rsvp, or contact my offices in Walnut Creek or Richmond to request ADA accommodations, translation services, or for more information about the event.


Legislation to Combat the Opioid Epidemic
With 115 lives in the United Sates being lost every day to opioid abuse, we are working to find solutions to this devastating crisis. Last week, Congress considered dozens of bipartisan bills designed to improve our ability to fight this epidemic by increasing reporting, streamlining processes, and increasing access to treatment. While I was happy to support a number of these bills, many of my colleagues and I opposed three efforts that would have done more harm than good.


Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act (H.R. 4275)
Our country's opioid addiction problem is one of the worst public health epidemics in a generation. Often pharmacists are the last line of defense in the fight to curb prescription drug abuse. I am proud to have worked with the only pharmacist in Congress, Rep. Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-GA), to introduce the Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act (H.R. 4275), which would help combat this epidemic by developing materials to inform pharmacists and health care professionals of the rights of pharmacists to refuse to fill possibly fraudulent prescriptions. H.R. 4275 unanimously passed the House last week and now heads to the Senate for consideration.


Danville Town Hall
Thank you to all who joined us in Danville for our 65th town hall and mobile district office hour! Hearing your thoughts and concerns on important topics like gun violence and immigration is essential to informing my work in Congress. Check the top of this newsletter for information on our next town hall.

Unveiling the New Martinez War Memorial
We came together with veterans and community members to both unveil the new Martinez War Memorial, dedicated to the local lives lost in battle during World Wars I & II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Global War on Terror, and to re-dedicate the Veterans Memorial Park on its 30th anniversary.


Hearing directly from you not only informs my work in Congress, but also is my favorite part of being your Representative. To share your opinions with me you can either email me or take our survey.

Below are some of the top issues you shared with me over the last week:

  • 169 constituents continued to support Congressional actions to restore net neutrality.
  • 94 constituents shared my outrage at the Administration's policy to separate children from their families at the border.
  • 79 constituents expressed support for reauthorizing the Land Water Conservation Fund, which protects open spaces and promotes recreation throughout the country.


Voter Roll Integrity Act (H.R. 3091) - in response to the Supreme Court greenlighting Ohio's aggressive efforts to purge its voting rolls, this bill strengthens voter protections by ensuring that states can no longer erroneously purge voter rolls without the knowledge or consent of active and still-eligible voters

Handgun Licensing and Registration Act (H.R. 5607) - creates a national handgun licensing and registration process to promote safe gun ownership, and only allows a state to opt-out if it has its own equally strict licensing and registration system

School-Based Health Center Reauthorization Act (H.R. 5899) - would reauthorize the school-based health center program, a very successful program that provides essential health care to students


DeSaulnier-led letter to the Department of Justice asking for a copy of a 2007 report that details Purdue Pharma's knowledge of how addictive OxyContin can be while continuing to market it as far less addictive

Letter signed with 70 Democratic colleagues to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt opposing the Administration's moves to weaken standards that have resulted in cleaner air and better public health without compromising economic growth

Letter to House Republican Leadership raising concerns that the required workplace harassment education training program for Members and staff does not include guidance about discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Letter to Disney's CEO asking for the company to seriously engage in negotiations with their labor union to provide its workers with living wages and fair benefits

Letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis to avert famine-triggering attacks on Yemen's major port and disclose full U.S. role in Saudi-led war

Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres urging him to ensure that the United Nations complies with its legal and moral obligations to provide appropriate remedies to victims of Haiti's devastating cholera epidemic

Letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) urging them to finalize a rule on Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), allowing them to assist senior citizens in being more actively involved in their communities


Representatives DeSaulnier, Scott, and Takano Call for Hearing to Protect Workers on the Outer Continental Shelf
Mark, along with his fellow Democratic colleagues on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Ranking Member of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee Mark Takano and Committee Ranking Member Robert C. "Bobby" Scott called on Republican Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (NC-05) to convene a hearing and markup for the Offshore Oil and Gas Worker Whistleblower Protection Act (H.R. 4304). The bill, which was authored by DeSaulnier, would extend whistleblower protections to employees working on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) performing oil and gas exploration, drilling, production, or oil spill cleanup, who currently have no protections. Learn more about their effort here.

DeSaulnier and Cummings Call on AG Sessions to Produce DOJ Report Showing Purdue Pharma Concealed Knowledge of OxyContin Abuses
The 120-page report, obtained by the New York Times, indicates that federal investigators found that Purdue Pharma continued to market OxyContin as less addictive despite knowledge that the highly addictive nature of the drug had led to largescale abuses. Mark and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to produce a copy of a 2006 Department of Justice (DOJ) report. In their call they wrote: "If this report is accurate, Purdue's actions demonstrate a stunning disregard for human life and the law. While Purdue Pharma made billions of dollars from OxyContin, thousands of Americans succumbed to addiction and its consequences." Read more about their call here.

Representatives DeSaulnier, Carter Pass Bipartisan Legislation to Curb Fraudulent Prescriptions of Opioids
"With the opioid prescribing rate increasing by 56 percent over the last 20 years the risk of forged, fraudulent, or altered prescriptions is greater than ever before. We must empower pharmacists—who often serve as the last line of defense in the fight against prescription drug abuse—to exercise their right to deny suspected fraudulent prescriptions. By doing so, we can help prevent these often deadly drugs from ending up in the wrong hands." Read more about Mark's bill that passed the House here.


East Bay Times: Desaulnier, Harris, Feinstein introduce bill to give Contra Costa Canal to water district