Opioid Network brings together community organizing groups from across the country


Standing in the marble-floored hallway of a U.S. Senate building, Don LoGiudice of Boardman recalled the morning he found his son, Donny, dead from a drug overdose. 

He described the way his son sat slumped over in his bed, and the look of horror on Donny’s face that he will never forget. 

Two-and-a-half years since that tragic morning in April 2015, LoGiudice brought his fight against the opioid epidemic to Congress. 

He was among several dozen people who visited Capitol Hill Monday as part of a new initiative called the Opioid Network. The network brings together community organizing groups from across the country. Monday’s event drew participants from Delaware, New Hampshire, Alaska, Vermont,  New York, Indiana, and other locations. Numerous Ohioans attended, including six from the Youngstown area. Participating groups included Valley Voices United for Change and Ohio Change Addiction Now. 

The purpose of the event was to lobby members of Congress on several points. The network is asking senators to support the Alexander-Murray bill, which was introduced last month by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, a Tennessee Republican and Washington Democrat. The bill would fund for two more years subsidies to insurance companies that were allowed under the Affordable Care Act. 

The group also is asking Congress to include $45 billion in funding for opioid treatment in the bill, and not to support any tax code changes that would reduce funding for programs such as Medicaid. 

The network also supports public health policies such as providing drug users with safe injection sites, syringe exchanges, and increased access to overdose reversal medication. 


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