Feb. 28, 2017, I shared my testimony at the Rayburn Building, in Washington, D.C. at the 144aday Congressional Hearing: In Cooperation with the Addiction, Treatment & Recovery Caucus, General Barry McCaffrey and the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. I also met with Congressmen Trey Hollingsworth and Senator Joe Donnelly and spoke with others members of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. I met with 500 families from across the U.S.on Capitol Hill, whose families have been affected by addiction and overdose deaths. (*photos below- I am on row 2 holding 2 pictures of my daughter, Jennifer Reynolds).**copy & paste this link in your browser to watch the video:https://youtu.be/euuT_-8PzTA?list=PLKYBcsTobTalb1Lh1vtlMXS4FKNKrJ9bBThis is my testimony shared at the Hearing:My Biography:My name is Sharon Blair. I am a Public Health Advocate. My educational background is in Early Child Development and teaching. In memory of my daughter, Jennifer, I was inspired to dedicate my life to a personal mission, to focus my time, energy and efforts on Drug Prevention, Education and Legislation in IN & FL and on Federal legislation (CARA).
I am frequently invited to speak and do presentations at candle vigils for those who have lost lives to overdose. I share in schools, in churches, treatment centers, organizations and at other convocations. I speak on the topic of substance addiction and work with lawmakers in Indiana and Florida, sharing my testimony in House and Senate Chambers- addressing legislation to save lives and aid treatment services.
In 2016, I worked with Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Task Force Members on addressing the substance addiction crisis in Indiana. I am the Founder of The Jennifer Act- (Indiana House Bill 1448) legislation passed July 1, 2015- signed by then Governor Mike Pence. This bill (provides treatment to those substance addicted). I also advocated for Florida Senate Bill 12 (Mental Health & Substance Abuse), which passed in 2016.Recently, Feb.14, 2017, I testified to the Indiana Senate Committee Members in support of Indiana Senator Jeff Raatz legislation- SB499 to address the overdose crisis, naloxone and add a new Chapter- 12-23-21 Pilot Program to address Involuntary Commitment. I also support Indiana Senator Jim Merritt and Rep. Steve Davisson legislation addressing SUD and the heroin crisis in our state of Indiana.——————————
Jennifer’s story/ obstacles getting substance treatment:My daughter, Jennifer Reynolds suffered for over a decade with a chronic opioid addiction and died,Jan.15, 2009 (at age 29) of an accidental prescription drug overdose, in Largo, Florida as a direct result of her disease.Jennifer was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis (severe curvature of the spine), which resulted in a very serious back surgery (spinal fusion). She was put on morphine for 10 days for pain and prescribed opioid pain medication to control pain. I believe this was the beginning of her second disease- a substance use disorder.
After I discovered my daughter Jennifer was addicted to opiates (prescription drugs & heroin), I reached out to our Governor in Florida, Governor Jeb Bush, for help. I explained to Governor Bush that his daughter, Noelle, and my daughter, Jennifer, both suffered from the same thing- a chronic addiction to prescription medication. He put me in touch with Florida Office of Drug Control’s Director- James McDonough, to see if he could assist me.