Comprehensive Opioid Bill Heads to President’s Desk

Bipartisan Opioid Package Addresses Treatment, Prevention, Alternatives to Opioids, and Equipping Law Enforcement

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Washington, October 3, 2018 | comments
This afternoon the Senate passed H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, a bipartisan response to the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities across West Virginia and the nation. The legislation will boost access to treatment, improve prevention, and help efforts to fight dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl. The package includes four bills championed by Rep. David B. McKinley (R-WV) to reduce repeat overdoses, encourage alternatives to opioids, expand access to safe drug disposal programs, and improve information sharing among health professionals.
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This afternoon the Senate passed H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, a bipartisan response to the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities across West Virginia and the nation. The legislation will boost access to treatment, improve prevention, and help efforts to fight dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl.

The package includes four bills championed by Rep. David B. McKinley (R-WV) to reduce repeat overdoses, encourage alternatives to opioids, expand access to safe drug disposal programs, and improve information sharing among health professionals.

“Many Americans are understandably frustrated by the partisanship and dysfunction they see in Washington these days,” said McKinley. “But here is an example of both parties coming together address a challenging national crisis: the opioid epidemic. Simply put this bill will help save lives and help families and communities address the devastation caused by drug addiction.”

H.R. 6, which passed the House last week, builds on previous efforts to fight the opioid epidemic over the past two years, including the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act from last Congress, the $4 billion in funding passed earlier this year to help combat the opioid crisis, and the $6.7 billion included in the appropriations package signed into law last week. They represent the most significant congressional effort against a single drug crisis in history.

“Many of the policies that are included are a direct response to ideas the came up in the dozens of meetings we’ve held across the First District on opioids,” said McKinley. “Whether it’s encouraging alternatives to opioids or making sure health professionals know a patient’s history of addiction, we were able to put our mark on this important legislation.”

Background:

This opioid package was the product of significant bipartisan work on both sides of the Capitol. In June, the House passed more than fifty bills to address the opioid epidemic over the span of two weeks.

After negotiations with the Senate, a final compromise was reached last week and passed the House floor overwhelmingly on September 28. 

To learn more about the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) please click here.

The package includes four bills championed by McKinley:

  • H.R. 5176, the Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms (POWER) Act. This bill was authored by McKinley and is cosponsored by Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA). The bill provides resources for hospitals to develop protocols on discharging patients who have overdosed. This will help avoid repeat overdoses by connecting patients with peer-support specialists, and referring them to treatment and other services.
  •  H.R. 5197, the Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) in the Emergency Department Act. This bill was authored by McKinley and Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). The bill establishes a demonstration program to test alternative pain management protocols to limit to use of opioids in hospital emergency departments, and reduce the over-prescribing of opioids.
  •  H.R. 5695, Emmett’s Law. This bill educates health care providers about information on substance abuse and overdoses they can share with family members.
  •  H.R. 5628, Access to Increased Drug Disposal Act. This bill will help improve access to safe drug disposal programs for prescription medicine. Many people become addicted due to the easy access of leftover prescription drugs.
 Additionally, McKinley is a co-sponsor of 13 other bills that were included in H.R. 6.

You can watch McKinley’s floor speech in support of H.R. 6 in June by clicking here.
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