Continuing the Fight against America’s Opioid Crisis

Jun 13, 2018 | COMMUNICATIONS •

Almost every person knows someone whose life has been affected by opioid abuse. Whether it’s prescription pain relievers or synthetic opioids like fentanyl, the opioid crisis has only gotten worse.

For years, House Republicans have been leading the charge against this crisis by taking repeated action to understand and combat this form of addiction. We have launched investigations, held hearings, worked with experts, and drafted legislation on this front.

But still, there is more work to be done.

The House is currently taking up dozens of bills to further combat this silent killer in America. These efforts build upon our previous work, particularly  the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act we passed last Congress, as well as the $4 billion appropriated in the government funding bill earlier this year.

Here are 39 things we’re doing just this week to combat the opioid crisis:

    1. Stopping the unlawful importation and distribution of synthetic drugs and giving law enforcement effective tools to help keep our communities safe.
      • Source: H.R. 2851
    2. Requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to disseminate information to professionals working with young children on ways to recognize children impacted by trauma related to an adult’s substance use, and how to respond in a manner that will provide the best support for the child.
      • Source: H.R. 5889
    3. Requiring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide states with guidance to support their implementation of their plans of safe care to address the needs of infants affected by prenatal substance abuse.
      • Source: H.R. 5890
    4. Establishing an interagency task force to develop a strategy on how federal agencies can implement a coordinated approach to responding to the opioid crisis, with a focus on the existing programs that support infants, children, and their families.
      • Source: H.R. 5891
    5. Advising the Secretary of Labor on actions the Department can take to address the impact of opioid abuse on the workplace.
      • Source: H.R. 5892
    6. Improving access for communities throughout the Appalachian region to resources to help combat the opioid crisis, and, specifically, its harmful impacts on economic development.
      • Source: H.R. 5294
    7. Creating a five year demonstration program to support transitional housing for individuals recovering from opioid addiction.
      • Source: H.R. 5735
    8. Amending the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to reauthorize the comprehensive opioid abuse grant program, and for other purposes.
      • Source: H.R. 6029
    9. Directing the Postal Service, CBP, and other federal agencies to collaborate to develop technology to detect opioids and other drugs that enter the United States in the mail.
      • Source: H.R. 5788
    10. Requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to hire and place at least 50 Veterans Justice Outreach Specialists and ensure that each one serves as part of a justice team in a veterans treatment court (VTC) or other veteran-focused court. VTCs  exist to assist veterans with mental health or substance abuse issues in accessing treatment to keep them out of the traditional justice system.
      • Source: H.R. 2147
    11. Directing the secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase the number of peer-to-peer counselors providing counseling for women veterans. Peer-to-peer counseling is often used in substance use disorder treatment, and this bill ensures access to appropriate staff for female veterans.
      • Source: H.R. 4635
    12. Establishing a task force within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify, evaluate, and share resources available to caregivers age 55 and older who are raising children.
      • Source: S. 1091
    13. Requiring the U.S. Surgeon General to submit a report to Congress on the public health effects of the rise in synthetic drug use among youth aged 12 to 18. This will further educate parents and the medical community on the health effects of synthetics.
      • Source: H.R. 449
    14. Directing the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to register an emergency medical services (EMS) agency to administer controlled substances if the agency submits an application demonstrating that it is authorized to conduct such activity in the state in which the agency practices.
      • Source: S. 916
    15. Promoting the testing of incentive payments for behavioral health providers for adoption and use of certified electronic health record technology.
      • Source: H.R. 3331
    16. Directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a public and easily accessible electronic dashboard linking to all of the nationwide efforts and strategies to combat the opioid crisis.
      • Source: H.R. 4284
    17. Authorizing the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop, publish, and disseminate best practices for operating recovery housing that promotes a safe environment for sustained recovery from substance use disorder.
      • Source: H.R. 4684
    18. Providing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with new, flexible authorities to conduct innovative research and spur urgently needed research on new non-addictive pain medications.
      • Source: H.R. 5002
    19. Ensuring medical professionals have access to a consenting patient’s complete health history when making treatment decisions.
      • Source: H.R. 5009
    20. Helping reduce the number of unused controlled substances at risk of diversion or misuse by allowing hospice employees to safely dispose of these medications on site after the death of a patient.
      • Source: H.R. 5041
    21. Creating a loan repayment program for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment providers.
      • Source: H.R. 5102
    22. Providing resources for hospitals to develop protocols on discharging patients who have presented with an opioid overdose.
      • Source: H.R. 5176
    23. Establishing a demonstration program to test alternative pain management protocols to limit the use of opioids in hospital emergency departments.
      • Source: H.R. 5197
    24. Providing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with stronger recall and seizure authority to disrupt the entry of counterfeit and illicit drugs through International Mail Facilities (IMFs).
      • Source: H.R. 5228
    25. Supporting institutions of learning that have championed substance use disorder (SUD) treatment education to improve how health professionals are taught about both SUD and pain.
      • Source: H.R. 5261
    26. Providing guidance for entities applying for substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness grants, including guidance to grantees on how best to articulate the rationale for a given program or activity.
      • Source: H.R. 5272
    27. Establishing Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers (CORCs) that will serve as models for comprehensive treatment and recovery.
      • Source: H.R. 5327
    28. Reauthorizing the national network of Poison Control Centers, which offer free, confidential, and expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
      • Source: H.R. 5329
    29. Authorizing the CDC to undertake an injection drug use-associated infection elimination initiative and work with states to improve education, surveillance and treatment of injection drug-use associated infections.
      • Source: H.R. 5353
    30. Directing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to articulate clear data collection methods that could be used to inform opioid-sparing labeling claims for products that may replace, delay, or reduce or the use of opioid analgesics.
      • Source: H.R. 5473
    31. Clarifying telemedicine waivers to ensure patients have emergency access to needed treatment.
      • Source: H.R. 5483
    32. Directing CMS to evaluate the use of abuse-deterrent opioids in Medicare plans.
      • Source: H.R. 5582
    33. Requiring state Medicaid programs to report on the 11 behavioral health measures that are included in CMS’ 2018 Core Set of Adult Health Care Quality Measures for Medicaid.
      • Source: H.R. 5583
    34. Enhancing CARA’s Building Communities of Recovery Program and authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants to peer support specialist organizations for the development and expansion of recovery services.
      • Source: H.R. 5587
    35. Directing the CMS to compile education resources for beneficiaries regarding opioid use, pain management, and alternative pain management treatments, and include these resources in the “Medicare and You” Handbook.
      • Source: H.R. 5685
    36. Directing the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) to conduct a study on institutions for mental disease (IMD) that receive Medicaid reimbursement.
      • Source: H.R. 5800
    37. Improving current federal support for state-run Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs).
      • Source: H.R. 5812
    38. Helping pharmacists detect fraudulent prescriptions.
      • Source: H.R. 4275
    39. Streamlining and enhance FDA’s tools to intercept illegal products.
      • Source: H.R. 5752

We are redoubling our efforts and moving forward to expand education, prevention, and treatment for Americans suffering from opioid addiction. We owe it to the more than 40,000 Americans who die every year to press on in our fight against the crisis gripping our nation. And that’s just what we intend to do.

We want to hear from you! Tell us what you think about our efforts to stop the opioid crisis in this nation!