The Opioid Epidemic: How Veterans Can Help

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) joins us tonight as our latest House GOP guest blogger, where he talks about his efforts to provide our communities with the resources they need to end opioid related deaths once and for all.

“This week, the House will take up a series of bipartisan bills to combat the opioid abuse epidemic rapidly plaguing the country. It’s an important step towards bringing meaningful solutions to the American people, and I’m proud to have introduced a bill that will help our veterans and our communities.

“Emergency Medical Technicians are an important part of the medical workforce and, as first responders, are critical to our goal of combating the 28,000 opioid overdose deaths that occurred in 2014 alone. According to the Department of Labor, the demand for EMTs and Paramedics is expected to increase 33 percent by 2020. This expected shortage is on top of some communities already reporting a shortage of EMTs.

“My legislation, the Veteran EMT Support Act (H.R. 1818), works to address this problem by helping states streamline requirements and procedures to assist veterans who completed military EMT training in the Armed Forces meet the certification, licensure, and other requirements to become civilian EMTs.

“Although some service branches train military medics to EMT national certification standards, states generally have additional requirements for state licensure.  This creates a barrier for service members who have received some of the best EMT training and have practiced their profession on the battlefield.

“The Veteran EMT Support Act is a common sense way to help veterans transition into civilian careers, improve public health, and ensure communities have first responders to answer challenging emergency calls like opioid overdoses. “

– Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)