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To Bring Attention to Need for Recovery Services, Spanberger Shares Story of Central Virginian Lost Due to Overdose on the Floor of the U.S. House

In August 2021, the Congresswoman Introduced a Bipartisan Bill to Create a Permanent, Dedicated Federal Funding Stream for Addiction Recovery Services

**VIDEO: On Floor of the U.S. House, Spanberger Shares Story of Central Virginian Lost to Drug Overdose, Pushes for Progress in Fight Against Substance Abuse & Addiction**

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger today on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives shared the story of Summer Barrow, a Central Virginian who lost her life to a fentanyl overdose in January 2020.

In 2020, Virginia reported a record number of drug overdose deaths — including a 47 percent increase in the number of opioid related deaths from 2019 to 2020.

Spanberger honored Summer’s life and shared her personal story to make clear that congressional efforts to address the nationwide substance abuse and addiction crisis must continue. Additionally, she highlighted her bipartisan Support Recovery from Addiction Act, legislation she introduced in August 2021 that would establish a permanent federal funding stream for treatment and recovery programs with a record of success.

Click here to watch her remarks, and a full transcript of her comments is provided below.


I rise to speak on the House floor about Summer Barrow.

Summer was born on the Fourth of July — and was named for the season. Her mother, Carey Colvin, said that Summer was a firecracker. She was vivacious, she loved to dance, she loved to sing, she loved music.

But Summer died of a fentanyl overdose in January of 2020. Summer’s substance use disorder began after she was prescribed Oxycodone after a car accident. And when the prescription ran out, she turned to heroin. This vibrant young woman lost her life to a substance use disorder, and amid her loss, her mother — Carey — has turned to advocacy.

And in her honor, I was proud to introduce the bipartisan Support Recovery From Addiction Act — legislation that would create a guaranteed funding stream for recovery support services and community organizations.

Of her daughter, Carey said, “I know what she would want is to say, ‘Please get help.’” This bill would help deliver that help to others — just as Summer and so many others that we have lost to substance use disorder would have wanted.


Earlier this year, Spanberger led a successful, bipartisan effort calling on the U.S. Treasury Department to allow states to use American Rescue Plan funding to combat increases in drug overdose deaths witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic.