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Congressional Candidate Says Not Enough Is Done to Prevent Opioid Abuse

Updated: 9/27/19 - 2:30pm

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) - Opioid prescription abuse is the focus of Dr. Scott Noren’s candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 23rd congressional district.

The district, which extends across the Southern Tier and includes Ithaca, Hornell and Corning, is currently represented by fifth-term Republican Tom Reed.

Noren is an oral surgeon and thinks elected officials aren’t doing enough to prevent opioid abuse.

He said there are plenty of people working on solutions to dependency. He wants to prevent it.

"But, I’m also focused on how we treat, basically how we treat acute and chronic pain."

In a statement, Tracy Mitrano, who's also running for the Democratic nomination, said she hasn’t seen her opponent's plan and cannot comment. Mitrano said she does have "some concerns about the government playing too large of a role in medical decisions."

Meanwhile, Congressman Reed's campaign defended is working on opioid addiction. "Tom cares about ensuring that our communities have fair access to the resources to help people struggling with opioid addiction," the statement read. "He has consistently voted for bi-partisan legislation to provide funding to fight the epidemic."* 

Noren thinks Congress should convene hearings and recommend a new medical specialization called “chronic pain management.” 

The American Medical Association already lists an existing specialization in Pain Management for patients with “acute, chronic or cancer pain”.

On Wednesday, Noren held a panel discussion on opioids. Neither Mitrano nor Reed were invited to participate.

*This story has been edited to reflect a statement from Congressman Tom Reed.