House Has Passed 25 Bills To Fight Opioid Epidemic
The U.S. House of Representatives has recently approved more than two dozen bills that seek to offer support to government and public institutions to battle the opioid crisis in a variety of ways.
The legislature aims to show support in the fight against the drug epidemic and deal with several issues, which include, but are not limited to the following:
- Improvement of living homes
- Increased access to naloxone, an opioid anti-overdose drug
- The development of new pain treatments that do not involve opioids
- Increasing sites that allow for the disposal of leftover painkillers, such as oxycodone
The bills are a product of both Republican and Democratic House reps and will permit medical providers to review a patient’s medical records and check for past drug abuse or addiction.
The bills were referred to as “real solutions” that will positively change the ways in which the country is responding to the problems, said Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman and Michael C. Burger (D-NY), Health Subcommittee Chairman in a joint statement.
Among legislature passed was the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober LIving Act of 2018, authored by Gus Bilirakis (R-Fl), Mimi Walters (R-CA), and Raul Ruiz (D-CA). The bill will allow the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to “develop, publish, and to best practices for operating recovery housing that promotes a safe environment sustained recovery.”
Still another bill, known as the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2018, will require that Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General, to submit an in-depth report that details the impact on public health – specifically, the effects of the increase in synthetic drug abuse among adolescents from age 12-18.
Jessie’s Law, authored by Debbie Dingell (D-MD) and Tim Walberg (R-MI) requires the Department of Health and Human Services to identify the best way to present information about a person’s substance use history in order for medical providers to make informed treatment decisions
The Safe Disposal and Unused Medication Act, also authored by Dingelll and Walberg, permits hospice personnel to dispose of controlled substances that were leftover after a patient’s passing.
Also, under the Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act of 2018, written by Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Vice Chairman of the Health Subcommittee and Gene Green, ranking member, facilities will be established to increase opportunities for persons dependent on drugs, and to help sustain long-term recovery through the use of evidence-based treatment approaches and medications approved by the FDA for opioid dependence.
Yet another bill was approved that will give pharmacists more information about medication and the authority to deny prescriptions for controlled drugs that they suspect may be used for recreational (non-medical or abuse) purposes.
Nineteen pieces of legislation were also passed that seek to fight the opioid epidemic. The House will review these bills in 2019.
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~ Nathalee G. Serrels, M.A., Psychology,