Washington, DC – This afternoon President Trump signed H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, into law. The bill is a bipartisan response to the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities across West Virginia and the nation.
The package includes four bills introduced 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 about patients’ addiction history between health care providers and family members.
“The opioid epidemic is a national emergency that is devastating families and communities,” said McKinley. “That’s why we have taken action to provide more resources to fight the crisis and adopt policies that help improve access to treatment, improve prevention, and give law enforcement the tools they need."
H.R. 6 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 2016, the $4 billion in funding passed earlier this year to help combat the opioid crisis, and the $6.7 billion included in the recent spending bill signed into law.
“Simply put, this legislation will help save lives,” said McKinley. “Too many families are being torn apart by the horrors of opioid addiction for us to stand by. We can’t solve this problem overnight, but this bill represents a serious and substantial step to turning the tide in this fight.
This opioid package was the product of significant bipartisan work on both sides of the Capitol.
In June, the House passed 57 bills to address the opioid epidemic over the span of two weeks.
After negotiations with the Senate, a final compromise was reached, which passed the House overwhelmingly on September 28. The Senate then sent the bill to the President’s desk on October 3.
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.