Rep. Patrick McHenry during a recent visit to the Stanley Fire Department. 

Rep. Patrick McHenry, the chief deputy whip in the United States House of Representatives, made a pair of stops in the district he represents on Monday morning.

McHenry, a Denver Republican, got his day started with a visit to the Mundy House and History Center of Eastern Lincoln County. The congressman viewed the artifacts, photographs and historic records on display during his first visit to the local museum.

Following his visit to the Mundy House, McHenry headed south into Gaston County to visit the Stanley Fire Department, where the AmerisourceBergen Foundation presented 1,000 opioid deactivation kits that were awarded to the Stanley Police Department through a grant application.

“At the federal level, we’ve changed a substantial number of laws in response to this opioid crisis,” McHenry said. “That means that we have more recovery programs and we’ve changed federal law in terms of how we respond to opioid addiction. At the state level, they’ve undertaken a change in our state laws in response to this opioid crisis and, at the county level, our local sheriffs are working on accessing recovery kits so that when law enforcement comes across someone who has overdosed they can save that person’s life.”

The number of emergency room visits resulting from opioid overdoses in North Carolina rose from nearly 3,000 in 2010 to just over 4,000 in 2016, according to data published by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. That number then skyrocketed to over 5,700 in 2017 and the state appears to be on a similar pace early in 2018.

“I’m pleased with the work being done at every level of government to actually respond to this epidemic that is touching every community and every family in our nation,” McHenry said. “In addition to changes in law to the way prescriptions are given, we have also made resources available for long-term recovery programs. This is not simply a law enforcement issue, it’s a medical issue of addiction. We have to make sure that the resources are available for those folks who have found themselves addicted to get out of that cycle and into recovery.”

The Deterra Drug Deactivation kits that were awarded to the Stanley Police Department through the AmerisourceBergen Foundation are an efficient, environmentally friendly way to deactivate and dispose of unused, expired or unneeded medications. Each kit comes with charcoal that goes inside the pouch with the unused medication, which is then filled halfway with warm tap water and shaken to deactivate the opioids through a proprietary activated carbon system. The pouch can then be disposed of with normal, everyday garbage. 

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