H.R. 5046, Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016

H.R. 5046

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016

Committee
Judiciary

Date
May 12, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On Thursday, May 12, 2016, the House will likely consider H.R. 5046, the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5046 was introduced on April 25, 2016, by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which ordered the bill reported, by voice vote, on April 27, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 5046 creates a comprehensive opioid abuse grant program at the Department of Justice (DOJ). It authorizes $103 million annually through 2021, all of which is offset to comply with House rules, for DOJ to make grants to states, local governments, and Indian tribes for opioid abuse reduction programs.

The $103 million in funding is offset by taking advantage of existing DOJ grant programs and funding streams, which ensures that the program is condensed, streamlined, and provides maximum flexibility to States. States will be able to use the grant funds for a variety of anti-opioid programs, including alternatives to incarceration, treatment programs for incarcerated individuals, veterans treatment programs, juvenile opioid abuse, investigation and enforcement of drug trafficking and distribution laws, and, significantly, training for first responders in carrying and administering opioid overdose reversal drugs like naloxone.  States will also be allowed to enlist nonprofit organizations, including faith-based organizations, in the fight against opioid abuse.[1]

The bill also amends the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program to authorize the appropriation of $20 million annually for the program beginning in fiscal year 2022, and redirects the funding over the next five fiscal years to anti-opioid efforts.

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[1] See Judiciary Committee Press Release, “Goodlatte Statement at Markup of the “Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act,” April 27, 2016.

Background

The United States is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths. Since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent, including a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin). During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, with more than 28,000 deaths involving some type of opioid, including heroin.[1]

The Administration’s FY 2017 Budget request proposed a $1.1 billion increase in funding to address the prescription opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic. This included a request for an increase of more than $90 million of funding for current efforts across the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities.[2]

According to the Judiciary Committee Chairman, “H.R. 5046 is an important, reasonable piece of legislation that will do a great deal to combat the opioid epidemic.  It creates a comprehensive opioid abuse reduction program at the Department of Justice, which will direct federal resources for drug abuse programs directly at the opioid problem.  By styling this as a competitive grant program for opioids, this bill will give states and localities maximum flexibility to attack opioid abuse issues unique to their communities.”[3]

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[1] See CDC: Increases in Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths – United States, 2000-2014
[2] See
[3] See Judiciary Committee Press Release, “Goodlatte Statement at Markup of the “Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act,” April 27, 2016.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 5046 would have a net discretionary cost of $248 million over the 2017-2021 period, and $167 million after 2021. The bill authorizes the appropriation of $103 million annually over the 2017-2021 period for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make grants to state, local, and tribal governments for programs to combat opioid abuse. The bill also would eliminate the current authorization of appropriations of $20 million annually over the 2017-2021 period for DOJ to make grants to state and local governments for law enforcement emergencies. That grant program last received an appropriation in 2013 of about $4 million. Assuming appropriation actions consistent with the bill, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 5046 would have a net discretionary cost of $248 million over the 2017-2021 period, and $167 million after 2021.

Amendments

  1. Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-NY)—The amendment amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act to include substance abuse treatment programs that provide alternatives to incarceration for pregnant women as eligible for family-based substance abuse treatment grants.
  2. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)—The amendment clarifies that grants addressing treatment alternatives to incarceration may include a focus on parents whose incarceration could result in their children entering foster care.
  3. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)—The amendment clarifies that treatment alternative to incarceration programs may include community-based substance use diversion programs sponsored by a law enforcement agency.
  4. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)—The amendment clarifies that grants under this act can be used for multistate interoperable prescription drug monitoring programs.
  5. Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI)—The amendment adds an “allowable use” within the grant program established under the bill to develop, implement, or expand the use of programs that utilize secure containers for prescription drugs.
  6. Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH)—The amendment adds treatment and recovery to the list of allowable uses in the bill.
  7. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA)—The amendment expands the list of eligible grant uses for the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Grant Program to include efforts to develop, implement, or expand a program to prevent and address opioid abuse by veterans.
  8. Rep. William Keating (D-MA)—The amendment adds drug take-back programs to the list of authorized uses for amounts made available under Section 3021(a) of the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Grant Program.
  9. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA)—The amendment provides that grant funding can be used develop, implement or expand a program to ensure the security of opioids in medical facilities.
  10. Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)—The amendment directs the Attorney General, when awarding grants, to also consider community need based on prevalence of opioid abuse and related deaths.
  11. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA)—The amendment directs the GAO to study and report on Department of Justice programs and research relative to substance use and substance use disorders among adolescents and young adults.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.