U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick put audience participation first at the recent Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce hosted “State of the Nation” the third in its annual legislative breakfast series.
From capping congressional term limits and bi-partisan cooperation to solutions for transportation, infrastructure, opioid addiction and career pathways for young people, Fitzpatrick yielded the floor to give those attending a chance to ask questions about Washington policies, politics and the impact decisions make on the grassroots level.
After a brief issues recap, audience members had a Q&A format to put their thoughts, questions and concerns directly to Fitzpatrick.
David W. Freeman, QNB president and CEO, said the “shorter presentation with a longer Q&A session was in keeping with the audience’s interests.”
The switch allowed not only for questions but discoveries, too.
John Olson, vice president for wealth management at Janney Montgomery Scott in Allentown said he learned the opioid crisis was more layered and complex than it might seem on the surface.
Fitzpatrick said today’s crisis had long roots - going back decades to the 1970s, in which patient satisfaction surveys were tied to pain management standards in the pharmaceutical industry.
“Brian Fitzpatrick argued the root cause of the issue was a change in [those] reimbursement rates due to patient satisfaction surveys [from] decades ago,” Olson said.
Fitzpatrick said a change in perception was needed to help get those who need it most find and receive treatment.
“This is a colossal problem we’re dealing with. It’s a medical condition, not a moral failing,” Fitzpatrick said of opioid use disorder.
According to a recent report released by the American Medical Association, doctors are writing fewer opioid prescriptions to patients, a trend downward, which has continued over the past five years.
The report said one of the tools doctors are increasingly using is the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) database.
According to the report, between 2017 and 2018, roughly 20 million fewer prescriptions were written - a reduction of about 12.4 percent, the report said.
Fitzpatrick said synthetic illegal drugs such as Fentanyl and Carfentanil are infiltrating street drugs and pose a dire threat to emergency medical, first responders and law enforcement through accidental exposure when treating overdose victims.
Most commonly used as an elephant tranquilizer, Carfentanil is roughly 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times stronger than Fentanyl, and it’s escalating at an alarming rate.
Extremely small amounts of it – even through skin contact – can be lethal, Fitzpatrick said.
He noted opioid addition is now “…the leading cause of accidental death.”
Fitzpatrick has made working across party lines a signature of his time in Washington D.C. where he serves District 1 including all of Bucks County, a small portion of Philadelphia and a slice of Montgomery County.
"He's working on legislation without focusing on partisan politics but rather sound solutions for our communities," said Danielle Bodnar, executive director of Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.
Fitzpatrick is leading a bi-partisan committee whose primary goal is to adopt congressional term limits. “If it’s the only bill I get passed,” Fitzpatrick said.
"Brian Fitzpatrick isn't afraid to reach across the aisle to encourage bi-partisan legislation and roll up his sleeves to accomplish committee work to benefit everyone," Bodnar said.
About 50 area business and community members attended the event Friday, May 31 held at McCoole’s Arts & Events Place in Quakertown.
“State of the Nation” is the third in a three-part series hosted by UBCC at McCoole’s Arts & Events Place in Quakertown.
The series brings in local state and federal lawmakers to give the Upper Bucks Community an opportunity to listen and question elected officials regarding issues and policies.
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