Letter to the Conference Committee on Opioids

(PDF version)
May 8, 2019

Dear Members of the Conference Committee on Opioids:

The Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice for the Catholic Church in Minnesota, writes to ask that you find compromise on HF 400/SF 751 and agree on practical and effective steps to finally address this critical issue facing Minnesota.

We hope that compromise language will hold the pharmaceutical manufacturers sufficiently responsible for their role in this epidemic.  The present opioid crisis facing this country is due in no small part to the actions of pharmaceutical companies. Through aggressive marketing campaigns beginning in the 1990s, widespread use of lobbying campaigns to encourage opioid prescribing practices and discourage regulations against opioid use, and incentive and promotion programs to get physicians to prescribe opioids with greater frequency, pharmaceutical manufacturers have helped create the problem; they should contribute to the solution.

The lives negatively impacted by this disaster represent all categories of people, regardless of economic status, age, sex, race, or religious or political affiliation. The impact is far-reaching, leading to the eventual breakdown of families, friendships, neighborhoods, and communities.  All of us have a responsibility to do what we can to offer help, support, and comfort to those who have formed an addiction to prescription pain killers, as well as to those individuals who have formed an addiction to illegal drugs.

We respectfully urge the members of the conference committee to come to an agreement that prioritizes the wellbeing of struggling Minnesotans, holds the drug manufacturers accountable, and focuses on opioid addiction prevention, education, intervention, treatment, and recovery. Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully yours,

Shawn M. Peterson
Associate Director for Public Policy