One Year Ago, Unprecedented Opioid Legislation Became Law

On First Anniversary of Support Act: Congress Must Continue to Address Opioid Crisis

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Washington, October 24, 2019 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today marks the first anniversary of President Donald Trump signing the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), into law. The bipartisan bill was a response to the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities across West Virginia and the nation.

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) was the product of significant bipartisan work on both sides of the Capitol and included four bills championed by U.S. Representative David McKinley (R-W.Va.).

“While this legislation is already having an impact, there is still more that can be done. Too many families are being torn apart by the horrors of opioid addiction for us to stand by,” McKinley said.  “We can’t solve this problem overnight, and H.R. 6 alone will not turn the tide in this fight. Our office has continued to work on new legislation aimed at helping to address this crisis, as well as holding agencies feet to the fire on implementing the polices included in the law.”

This year, Rep. McKinley has introduced two bills aimed at addressing the opioid crisis.

  • The Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act, H.R. 3878, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to require drug manufacturers, distributors and other DEA registrants to both report and stop any suspicious drug orders. This legislation also addresses a recommendation from the committee’s opioid distribution report.
  • The PDMPs Help Patients Act, H.R. 3927, which authorizes Health and Human Services to create a pilot program to test the feasibility and outcomes of integrating a SUD and behavioral health treatment locator tool into the PDMPs of 5 eligible States.

“What everyone needs to remember is 215 people died yesterday from substance abuse, 215 people died today, and 215 people are going to die tomorrow,” McKinley said. “In my state of West Virginia, we have one person dying every eight hours from drugs. This Congress, the House has lost focus and refuses to make the opioid crisis a priority. I’m hoping this anniversary can help us regain our momentum.”

So far this Congress the House has passed zero bills addressing the opioid crisis and held zero oversight hearings on the implementation of H.R. 6.

Background:

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) passed the House overwhelmingly on September 28. The Senate then sent the bill to the President’s desk on October 3 and it was signed into law on October 24, 2018. 

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.

The SUPPORT Act was not the first Energy and Commerce Committee-led response to the nation’s opioid crisis. Previous Congressional efforts have included the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act in the 114th Congress. In addition, billions of dollars were appropriated to boost programs that fight, treat, and stop substance abuse, and support access to mental health services in the 115th Congress

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