Re-elected by a resounding margin last month to a second congressional term, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R, NJ-03) is preparing to tackle a new role: the tip of the House’s spear in the battle against heroin abuse.
It was announced Tuesday that Congressman MacArthur will serve as co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic along with Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH).
Founded in 2015, the 85-member Task Force championed 18 bills earlier this year among other activities designed to raise awareness, gather information, craft solutions, and provide assistant to federal, state and local governments in combating the United States’s heroin epidemic.
“The addiction crisis in America has touched so many families,” said Congressman MacArthur in a statement released Tuesday. “There is so much work to be done and the Task Force has made great strides to raise awareness and implement policies that will help families and individuals struggling with recovery and treatment. New Jersey’s heroin overdose rate is triple the soaring U.S. rate, and we have to do everything we can to fight this epidemic together in a meaningful, bipartisan way. Thank you to Congressman Guinta and Congresswoman Kuster for leading the charge on this national crisis – I know we will have a productive partnership as we look toward the New Year. We are all united behind the need to take strong, effective, immediate action on this crisis. Bottom line, these families deserve our support and we are here to help.”
New Jersey is turning into a front line in the heroin addiction war; in 2014, there were 781 heroin deaths up from 351 in 2009. MacArthur’s district encompasses most of Ocean County, New Jersey, which is particularly hard hit with over 140 deaths as of the end of October.