Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteThe Hill's Morning Report: Koch Network re-evaluating midterm strategy amid frustrations with GOP Audit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years MORE (R-N.H.) on Saturday said that Congress must immediately combat drug addiction or risk losing everyday American lives to opioid abuse.

“This is a life-or-death issue,” she said in the weekly Republican address. “In 2015, 420 New Hampshire residents lost their lives to a drug overdose – more than the number of people killed in traffic accidents.

“We’re seeing similar trends not only in New England, but also in West Virginia, Ohio and across the country,” she added. “But these are not just numbers.

“Behind every statistic and behind every headline is a life that has been lost.  A mother, a daughter, a son.  A brother, a neighbor, a friend.  This is not a Republican or Democrat issue – it affects all of us.”

Ayotte then argued that lawmakers should pass bipartisan legislation addressing the scourge of opiate narcotics as quickly as possible.

“We have an opportunity to act right now to save lives in New Hampshire and across the country,” she said of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery bill, or CARA.

“CARA will increase access to treatment for individuals struggling with addiction,” Ayotte said. “The bill also would expand prevention and education efforts in our schools and launch a specific prescription opioid and heroin treatment and intervention effort.

“For the first responders, treatment providers and those struggling with addiction, those in recovery and their loved ones – we owe it to them to pass CARA. And we will." 

Senate Republicans voted last Wednesday to block $600 million in emergency funding for the bill, arguing money for the legislation is best allocated in the omnibus spending bill passed late last year. But later in the week, the Senate seemed to be making progress with both Republicans and Democrats putting aside proposed amendments, and a procedural vote is set for Monday.