Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Co-Chairs FL Delegation Public Meeting on Heroin Crisis

Apr 26, 2016
Press Release
Witnesses Include Florida Treatment Experts & Anti-Drug Professionals

House Sponsor of Sweeping Reform Bill to Appear

WASHINGTON — The co-chairs of Florida’s congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, and U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-FL, today announced that they will hold a bipartisan delegation meeting on the heroin crisis in Florida on Thursday, April 28 at 8:30 a.m. in Room B-318 of Rayburn House Office Building, in Washington, DC.

Buchanan represents Manatee County, the epicenter of Florida’s heroin crisis. Manatee County had more heroin overdose deaths per capita than any other Florida county in 2014.

“Countless families in Florida and across the country have borne witness to the tragic consequences of drug addiction and opiate abuse,” Buchanan said. “The growing heroin crisis requires a serious and comprehensive approach by Congress. I look forward to discussing thoughtful solutions with my colleagues and experts on Thursday.”

Buchanan’s announcement of the meeting comes one day after the Florida Medical Examiners Commission released its interim 2015 drug mortality report, a harrowing study that details the severity of the state’s drug epidemic and its shocking death toll. According to the report, the number of heroin deaths in Florida in the first half of 2015 was 115 percent higher than during the same period a year earlier, as reported by the Bradenton Herald.

Nationally, 125 Americans die from drug overdoses each day.


  • U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL.
  • U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-FL.
  • Florida’s bipartisan congressional delegation.
  • Panelist U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-WI, author of a sweeping anti-drug bill.
  • Panelist Melissa Larkin-Skinner, Chief Clinical Officer of Centerstone Behavioral Hospital and Outpatient Practice, located in Bradenton, Fl. Centerstone provides inpatient and outpatient mental health and addiction treatment to more than 15,000 Floridians a year, including 4,200 children and teens.
  • Panelist Frank C. Rabbito, Senior Vice President of WestCare Foundation, located in Miami, FL. WestCare Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that provides a broad continuum of behavioral and mental health services in 17 states and 2 territories.
  • The program will also include brief remarks from a Miami resident currently in recovery from heroin addiction. The Miami resident is a former client of the WestCare/Village South Treatment Program in Miami, Fl.

WHAT: Bipartisan Florida Delegation Meeting on the Heroin Crisis in Florida.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 28, 2016.

WHERE: Room B-318, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC.