Rep. Lipinski Helps Pass Legislation to Confront Opioid Abuse Crisis (May 17, 2016)

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) has joined House members from both sides of the aisle to pass several bills to help combat a growing problem for families across the region and our nation, opioid abuse and addiction.

“Congress can’t solve this national dilemma on its own, but it can certainly help give various groups and organizations the tools they need to begin to confront a serious issue that does not get the attention it deserves,” Rep. Lipinski said.  “This is just a start.  I will continue to fight for more action to combat this crisis situation that no community in my district is immune to.”

Legislation passed by the House of Representatives to help address national opioid problem:

·         The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act sets up new flexible grant programs to combat opioid abuse.  One is directed at states, and the other is directed at veterans.  An amendment attached to this bill makes drug take-back programs eligible for grants.

·         The Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act requires the VA to update its opioid therapy clinical guidelines and track opioid use by veterans.

·         The Good Samaritan Assessment Act requires a Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessment of state and local Good Samaritan laws that protect bystanders from prosecution when they call emergency services to help someone who is overdosing.

·         The OPEN Act requires the Department of Justice to carry out an evaluation of a new anti-opioid abuse grant program and requires the Department of Health and Human Services to carry out evaluations of its own existing anti-opioid abuse programs.

·         Another bill establishes a task force to review and craft best practices for addressing pain and using pain medication.  It must involve a variety of stakeholders from across federal agencies, medical providers and institutions, mental health and addiction treatment providers, chronic pain patients, and people in recovery from addiction.  A notable amendment to this legislation requires the study of co-prescribing the anti-addiction medicine naloxone with opioid prescriptions for pain.

·         The Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants (not just doctors) to prescribe and administer medication-assisted treatment for addiction.  It also says that regulatory caps on the number of patients practitioners can serve should be raised.

·         The Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act asks the GAO to report on the availability of inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment facilities.

·         The Reducing Unused Medications Act allows partial prescription fills at the request of the patient.

·         Lali’s Law creates a grant program for states to train pharmacists to dispense overdose reversal medication to drug users or their families without the need for a prescription.

·         The John Thomas Decker Act says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must publish and distribute educational materials to help prevent youth addiction following sports injuries.

·         The Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act reauthorizes residential treatment grant programs targeting pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorders.

·         The Opioid Review Modernization Act says the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must seek advice from a special advisory committee before approving new opioid drugs lacking abuse-deterrent properties.  There would also be new rules governing the process of changing opioid labeling on pediatric medications.

All of this legislation has been put into one package and sent to the Senate for conference.

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