Hudson: Don’t sweep substance abuse under the rug

On your growing list of things to do this week, dealing with a sudden illness or a medical emergency of a loved one is probably not part of it.

But folks get sick and accidents happen. Here in North Carolina, we’re blessed to have some of the best health care facilities that provide unparalleled patient care and conduct cutting-edge research. We can rest easier knowing we can count on some of the most well-respected health care professionals and doctors.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson This Week in Washington

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson
This Week in Washington

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit a few facilities in our state that are leading the way in specialized care and life-saving, innovative research. Part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma is dedicated to preventing and treating severe injuries in our children. You’ve probably seen stories of head injuries, concussions and trauma in professional sports in the news recently, but this is also a very serious issue for our children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 10,000 children in America are killed from serious injury every year and thousands more are seriously injured and require extensive medical care. Pediatric trauma is caused by many different things – a car accident, a fall, a sports injury – but each instance could require specialized care for a child. In addition to caring for injured kids, the Childress Institute is conducting groundbreaking research that aims to find new ways to identify, treat and prevent serious injuries in our youth. These children are our future and I’ll continue to be a partner in efforts to save their lives, prevent injuries and make recovery from a traumatic injury easier.

I also had the opportunity to witness some of the most advanced medical breakthroughs of our time at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Anthony Atala and his skilled team of physicians and researchers are growing new human cells, tissues and organs to cure diseases. In fact, scientists at this center were the first in the world to successfully implant laboratory-grown organs into humans. They continue to lead the international community by growing more than 30 different organs and tissues. It is absolutely awe-inspiring to know that this type of research is happening in our backyard. As your Representative, I am deeply invested in determining how Congress can better work with specialized treatment and research centers like the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Childress Institute to guarantee the best health care in North Carolina.

Another way I’m working to improve the health of our local communities is through combatting and preventing prescription drug and heroin abuse. Sadly, more than 20,000 Americans die each year from prescription opioid overdoses, and the crisis of prescription drug and opioid abuse continues to make its way into every corner of North Carolina. Last week, I hosted a roundtable discussion in Charlotte to focus on ways to combat this epidemic with Charlotte Mayor Clodfelter, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department Captain Vorhees, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Director of Arts, Health and Physical Education Debra Kaclik and Fred Brason, Executive Director of Project Lazarus, a community based opioid overdose prevention model in Wilkes county. I brought this group together to raise awareness of this crisis and learn about some of the things the federal government can do to better coordinate with local folks who are on the front lines. We can’t sweep this issue under the rug – we must unite to help find ways to turn this opioid abuse crisis around, save lives and restore our community.

If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse, please contact the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services at 919-715-3197 or find your local center for help and information at

Richard Hudson, a Republican, represents the 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes a small part of Mecklenburg County and takes in all or parts of the counties of Cabarrus, Union, Randolph, Rowan, Davidson, Stanly, Anson, Montgomery, Richmond, Scotland and Robeson.

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