September 10, 2018

Senate Reaches Agreement on Bill to Address Opioid Crisis

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined several senators in releasing a bipartisan agreement on the Opioid Crisis Response Act, a bill that includes more than 70 proposals from the Senate Health, Finance, Judiciary, Commerce and Banking Committees to address the nationwide crisis.

Senator Feinstein released the following statement on the agreement:

“More Americans were killed by opioids last year than in the Vietnam War. This crisis demands a comprehensive, national response. This bipartisan bill establishes a number of new drug prevention and treatment programs, while also extending other critical agencies and programs, including the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Drug-Free Communities, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and drug court programs.

“Moreover, the bill provides the Justice Department with new legal authority to hold opioid manufacturers and distributors accountable if they fail to identify, report and stop suspicious orders of opioids. The bill also preserves legitimate access to pain medications, while allowing the Drug Enforcement Administration to consider, for the first time, factors like abuse and deaths when setting annual production quotas for certain opioids. The legislation represents a critical step in our efforts to better address the opioid epidemic, and I look forward to its passage.”

The Opioid Crisis Response Act will also:

Reduce Use and Supply.
The legislation includes provisions that provide flexible grants for states to better share Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs data, clarify FDA authority to require set packaging for prescription opioids, such as a 3 or 7 day supply in a blister pack, and fight opioid diversion.

Encourage Recovery.
The legislation includes provisions to support states and Indian tribes in addressing substance use disorders, establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers, expand access to medication-assisted treatment, and improve community support, access to health professionals, tele-health services and long-distance care, and recovery housing services.

Support Caregivers and Families.
The legislation includes provisions to improve plans of safe care and support for substance-exposed babies and their mothers, promote family-focused treatment and recovery, help youth with substance use disorders recover, and strengthen trauma-informed care and support in schools and early childhood education programs.

Drive Innovation and Long-Term Solutions.
The legislation includes provisions to advance cutting-edge research to spur discovery and development of new non-addictive painkillers, address economic and workforce impacts of the opioid crisis, ensure parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits, and improve pain management.

The bipartisan agreement to move the bill forward in the Senate also includes an understanding about important changes that will be made as it moves through the process and before it gets signed into law.

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