The United States is in the midst of one of the worst drug crises to date. Taking on the opioid crisis means determining the underlying causes of addiction, developing effective treatment plans, and supporting ongoing research.
If you want to make your voice heard and advocate for positive change, here are some tips for reaching out to your state legislators.
Facts for calling:
- If you don’t know the direct number to your representative, call 202-225-3121 for U.S. representatives or 202-224-3121 for U.S. senators.
- You’ll likely speak with an assistant who will take the call. Be sure to let them know you’re a constituent in your representative’s district or state, as that’s who they’re most interested in hearing from.
- If you want your message to get through but don’t need a response, note that in the call. This can help speed up the process. If you do want a response, you may be more likely to get one from the local level.
- Keep your call short and to the point. But if you’ve been personally affected by the opioid crisis, let them know. Personalizing a call can make yours stick out.
- A phone call to your legislators can hold a lot of weight (some report more so than email). What you’re doing is important! Don’t forget that.
If you want to be specific in your stats, consider noting this in your call:
- Deaths from prescription opioid overdoses rose by 471 percent in women between 1999 and 2015.
- Women are more likely to use prescription opioid pain meds for a longer time and in higher doses than men.
- In just 2015, almost 30 percent of all deaths by drug overdoses and half of all deaths by opioid overdoses involved a prescription opioid.
- While men are still more likely to die from a drug overdose, women are closing that gap at an alarming rate.
Here’s a sample script to efficiently get your message across:
My name is [your name], and I’m a resident of [state] and a voter in [your ZIP code]. I’m calling because I’m concerned about opioid use disorder and how the law negatively affects women. I don’t need a response.
Opioid use disorder affects a lot of American women and has a ripple effect throughout our communities. Empathy and medical intervention are needed to treat this disorder rather than civil punishments.
As a constituent, I urge the [senator/representative] to push for women to get the help they need without fearing retribution from the law.
Thank you for your time and work.