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SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

mcconell

McConnell Bill to Address Prenatal Addiction and Infant Opioid Withdrawal One Step Closer to Becoming Law

Senator McConnell comments on legislation in Senate floor speech

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that his legislation to address the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and infants suffering from opioid withdrawal passed the U.S. Senate. Senator McConnell introduced the Protecting Our Infants Act earlier this year with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“I was pleased to see the Senate pass the bipartisan Protecting Our Infants Act,” Senator McConnell said. “As prescription drug abuse and heroin use has increased in Kentucky and other states across the nation, no demographic, socio-economic status, age or gender has been left untouched. One heartbreaking aspect of this crisis is the increasing number of infants who are born dependent on opioids in the form of prescription painkillers and heroin.”

Researchers estimate that nationwide, one baby every hour is born dependent on drugs and suffering from withdrawal. Nationwide, there has been a staggering 300-percent increase in the number of infants diagnosed with newborn withdrawal since 2000. In Kentucky, that number grew by an almost 3,000 percent — from 29 infants identified as suffering from drug withdrawal annually to more than 950, and experts believe there are even more cases that go unreported.

This bipartisan bill would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct a departmental review to identify gaps in research and any duplication, overlap or gaps in prevention and treatment programs related to prenatal opioid abuse and infants born with opioid withdrawal. It also would direct the HHS to work with stakeholders to develop recommendations both for preventing prenatal opioid abuse, and for treating infants born dependent on opioids.  Finally, this measure would encourage the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work with states and help improve their public health response to this epidemic.

“This situation is not only heartbreaking, it’s intolerable,” Senator McConnell said. “These children are the most innocent members of society, and we must do all we can to protect them. No piece of legislation can fix this problem overnight, but I believe the Protecting Our Infants Act is a vital step forward in helping ensure that our public health system is better equipped to prevent and treat prenatal opioid addiction and the resulting infants who are born dependent on opioids.”

The legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Steve Stivers (R-OH). The Protecting Our Infants Act is supported by the March of Dimes, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

SOURCE: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Published on Oct 22, 2015

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced today that his legislation to address the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and infants suffering from opioid withdrawal passed the U.S. Senate. Senator McConnell introduced the Protecting Our Infants Act earlier this year with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

McConnell Encouraged by White House Focus on Addressing Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Epidemic

‘I’m encouraged to see both [ONDCP Director Botticelli] and the President engaged and proposing certain steps that my home state of Kentucky has embraced.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding his bipartisan legislation and the President’s announcement to address our nation’s drug epidemic:

“I’d like to note that President Obama will be travelling to West Virginia today with ONDCP Director Botticelli to announce additional steps the federal government will take to address America’s prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic.

“This epidemic has been particularly devastating to my constituents.

“Today, drug overdoses, principally driven by painkillers, claim more Kentucky lives than car accidents.

“Today, increased heroin overdose rates account for nearly a third of all drug overdose deaths in the Commonwealth.

“And today, thousands of innocent babies are born dependent on opioids.

“I recently hosted Director Botticelli in Kentucky to discuss critical issues like these. I’m encouraged to see both he and the President engaged and proposing certain steps that my home state of Kentucky has embraced.

“Drug abuse isn’t a partisan issue. Many members of the Senate are actively engaged on the matter. I know the President will be joined today both by West Virginia’s Republican Senator and Democratic Senator.

“Finding solutions to this epidemic will require all of us – Republicans and Democrats alike – working together at the federal, state and local levels.

“So today’s announcement is encouraging, because it’s always positive to see Republicans and Democrats working together to address this epidemic.  And here’s another bipartisan opportunity for us to work together on this issue: let’s pass S. 799, the Protecting Our Infants Act. I hope the Senate will pass that important bipartisan legislation soon.”

SOURCE:  From U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

USS Kearsarge, 26th MEU to Train with Turkey for Egemen 2015

NAPLES, Italy – U.S. amphibious forces are participating in the Turkish-led and hosted amphibious exercise Egemen 2015, set to begin Oct. 24.

The exercise is designed to enhance operational and tactical-level expeditionary warfare skills while increasing interoperability and strengthening partnerships between United States and Turkish forces.

151019-N-AX638-056 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Oct. 19, 2015) An MV-22 Osprey lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Oct. 19, 2015. Kearsarge, deployed as part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tyler Preston/Released)

151019-N-AX638-056 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Oct. 19, 2015) An MV-22 Osprey lands on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Oct. 19, 2015. Kearsarge, deployed as part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tyler Preston/Released)

Quick Facts:

  • A combined Turkish-U.S. staff, led by Turkey, will plan and then execute amphibious operations as part of the exercise.
  • The exercise will include tactical level training ashore and a combined amphibious landing, flexing all elements of amphibious warfare.
  • U.S. forces include the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and elements of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
  • U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

 

SOURCE:  Department of Defense

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, 39, of Roland, Oklahoma, died Oct. 22, in Kirkuk Province, Iraq, from wounds received by enemy small-arms fire during an operation.

He was assigned Headquarters U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

 

SOURCE:  Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Expert: Engage Families in Underperforming Districts for Better Educational Outcomes

by Autumn A. Arnett

A Department of Education report released Monday found that “states continue to increase high school graduation rates and narrow the gap for traditionally underserved students, including low-income students, minority students, students with disabilities and English learners.”

However, a Center for Reinventing Public Education report on Educational Improvement and Opportunity across the country again found bleak educational opportunities in 50 urban areas across the country.

In the ED report, states with the greatest gains were Delaware, Alabama, Oregon, West Virginia and Illinois—Chicago was the only city in the CRPE report housed in any of these states.

Jacqueline Cooper, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, said, “The new (ED) report mirrors the CRPE study in many ways, ultimately showing that some states are improving the quality of education provided to Black students, while others are struggling to figure out what works and others are simply maintaining the status quo.”

“We need to focus on the places that are improving, like Newark, Memphis, Nashville and Los Angeles, and find ways to replicate those innovative school models that led to those individual successes in other cities around the country,” she said.

In a majority of the CRPE report cities, schools at the bottom continued to underperform relative to the performance of the states overall. Among the CRPE report’s findings were the ideas that fewer than one-third of cities made year-over-year gains in math or reading proficiency relative to their states; one in four students aren’t graduating from high school in four years; and 40 percent of schools in the bottom 5 percent of states’ performance rankings remain in the bottom 5 percent for three years running.  READ MORE.

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