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WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood Federation of America applauds health care champions Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) for introducing legislation to fight the opioid epidemic through funding for biomedical research; training for health care providers,  treatment, recovery, and harm reduction service; and increased access to naloxone. The Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act targets areas across the country with high rates of opioid overdoses and it’s a direct step toward saving people’s lives.

As a leading provider of preventive health care, Planned Parenthood health centers are often the only source of care for people in underserved areas — including many places suffering from opioid misuse and addiction. Planned Parenthood health centers may be the first place a patient struggling with substance use disorder will encounter medical care and screening, and can be an important gateway to patients getting broader help that they need.

Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

Public health leaders and front-line providers know what works in fighting the opioid epidemic. We need sustained funding, proportionate to severity, distributed directly to the areas hardest hit in order to efficiently and effectively combat this crisis. In 2017, more than 70,000 people died from a drug overdose in this country. The disease of addiction does not discriminate, and it impacts far too many of our communities. We at Planned Parenthood applaud Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings for introducing legislation that does not just tinker around the edges, but seeks to sustain evidence-based initiatives in communities that are fighting high rates of opioid overdose. We look forward to working alongside our champions to expand and increase each community’s ability to treat and care for its women, men, and children affected by opioid misuse and addiction.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.