For many lawmakers, Wednesday’s vote on a package of addiction and mental health legislation will be personal.

For Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), it was his nephew who died overdosing on fentanyl. For Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.), it was her brother who became addicted after being prescribed oxycodone and OxyContin for a series of surgeries. And for Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), it was the shock of coming home to Levittown after 14 years in the FBI and realizing the magnitude of the problem.

he three House members and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) came together in March 2021 to create the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, which has been a key player in promoting and pushing legislation on those issues. Trone said of the 145 lawmakers on the task force, “virtually everyone has experienced the loss of a loved one.”

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