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Senator Gillibrand Promotes Legislation to Fight Opioid Epidemic

With a daily national average of 51 overdose deaths involving prescription opioids, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing for a bill to fight the epidemic.

On Friday, the senator visited Fairview Recovery Services in Binghamton promoting the Preventing Overprescribing for Pain Act. The act would require the Centers for Disease Control to issue guidelines for safe opioid prescribing in the treatment of acute pain.

Gillibrand and advocates of the legislation say many people who suffer acute pain become addicted to opioids after taking these prescriptions.

"They get wisdom teeth pulled, they break their arms, they have sports injuries, various issues with their health. And sometimes Extra Strength Tylenol may be all they need," said Senator Gillibrand, "They don't necessarily need addictive opioids, and they certainly don't necessarily need a 30-day supply of them."

Penny Stringfield, an advocate for the legislation, lost her 24-year-old son, John, to addiction. After six years of battling opioid addiction, he died from a heroin overdose in February 2015.

"You know there's many, many places that you can go and look at the faces of people whose lives have been destroyed by addiction," said Stringfield.

This week, the CDC finalized guidelines for opioids to treat chronic pain.

Gillibrand said she is optimistic that the bill will be approved in both the Senate and House in the near future.