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Jun 28, 2016 10:04 PM

Kuster teams up with mother of overdose victim to push for narcotics warning labels

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – A mother from Holderness who lost a son to a drug overdose Tuesday teamed up with U.S. Rep Annie Kuster to push for a federal law requiring prescription narcotics include a warning on the label.

Sue Messinger’s son Carl died on October 23, 2014.

Carl, who was in recovery, died of a fentanyl overdose after he relapsed due to opiate medicate he was prescribed.

“About two weeks after detox he developed a chest cold, it wouldn’t go away. Went and saw who we thought would be his regular primary care physician. His physician wasn’t available. He saw someone else. That doctor never asked ‘do you had a drug or alcohol issue’,” Messinger said at an event at Hope for New Hampshire Recovery’s Concord center.

Messinger said that Carl “died instantly. I found him on the bathroom floor with the syringe still in his hand with his hand still on the plunger.”

Messinger, who earlier this year testified in front of Congress, added that “with Carl’s law they’ll make it mandatory that when a prescription is filled and it has narcotic in it, it will say on there this drug contains a narcotic and it causes drug seeking behavior. Had that been on there I know we would have had a different outcome with Carl.”

Kuster told the audience that “we’re here to honor Carl Messinger by introducing Carl’s Law.”

And she praised Messinger, saying “telling a story like this is difficult, is painful, but it’s necessary.”

Later, speaking with NH1 News, the two-term Democrat in New Hampshire 2nd Congressional District said “telling these stories will help bring this out of the closet and help educate our entire community. I didn’t know this about codeine cough syrup. I’ve given my own children codeine cough syrup. But to know this might cause drug seeking behavior in someone with addiction, in substance misuse disorder, that’s important information.”

Kuster added that “I’m trying to create a dialogue, educate the public, about using strong medicine and what the purpose is and who and when it should be prescribed.”

Kuster has taken a lead at the federal level in fighting the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic. Last autumn she co-founded the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, along with

New Hampshire’s other member of the U.S. House, Republican Rep. Frank Guinta.

Also speaking at the event were New Futures Policy Director Michele Merritt and James Potter, the New Hampshire Medical Society’s Executive Vice President.

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