KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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It’s Imperative For Congress To Kick Work On Opioid Crisis Into ‘High Gear,’ Rep. Walden Says

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) chairs, will hold a hearing on the epidemic next month. In other news, a study finds that more than 75 percent of opioid prescriptions are written for 10 percent of patients.

The Hill: House Committee To Hold Hearing On Opioid Epidemic 
House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) is calling on lawmakers to "redouble" efforts to address the opioid epidemic as the committee prepares to hold a hearing on the crisis next month. “President Donald Trump recently declared the epidemic a national emergency,” Walden wrote in a Morning Consult op-ed published Tuesday. (Roubein, 9/12)

And more on the crisis —

Los Angeles Times: Bill To Create 'Safe Injection Sites' For Drug Users Fails In California Senate
A controversial proposal to allow certain California counties and cities to establish sites where people could inject drugs without legal consequences stumbled in the state Senate on Tuesday night. The measure, by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would establish a first-in-the-nation program in which users of heroin and other intravenous drugs could inject in settings with clean needles and under the supervision of trained staff. The goal: to stave off overdoses in an era in which heroin use is on the rise. (Mason, 9/12)

Cincinnati Enquirer: More Money For Heroin Fight On Way
Cincinnati and Hamilton County will soon spend another $400,000 on the fight against heroin addiction, investing in public outreach, a hotline for drug users seeking help and life-saving medical treatment for people who overdose. City council members and county commissioners agreed weeks ago to increase spending by an additional $200,000 each, but they talked Tuesday for the first time about how those tax dollars will be spent. (Horn, 9/12)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com: Cherry Hill Mom: Daughter's Opioid Death Was Caused By 'Corporate Greed'
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) took aim during a hearing Tuesday at marketing practices by the pharmaceutical industry generally and the behavior of one company in particular: Insys Therapeutics Inc., which made the powerful opioid believed to have played a role in the death of 32-year-old Sarah Fuller in Camden County last year. ... Also testifying at the hearing was a pain patient named Jeffrey Buchalter, a veteran of four tours in Iraq, who now lives in Maryland. Insys allegedly paid his physician $34,000 as part of a “speakers program” about Subsys, after which his doctor prescribed inappropriate amounts of the drug, making him into what he called a “full-blown addict.” (Sapatkin, 9/12)

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