CDC Poised To Release Guidelines To Combat Opioid Crisis
States are also taking steps to fight the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history. On Capitol Hill, the Senate is aiming to finish its work on a bipartisan opioid bill next week, lawmakers say the pharmaceutical industry needs to take some responsibility in the crisis, and Sen. Robert Casey calls on the Government Accountability Office to investigate what states and the administration are doing to protect babies born to drug-dependent women.
States, CDC Seek Limits On Painkiller Prescribing
Now, in the throes of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, governors, presidential candidates and major health care organizations — from insurance companies to physician associations — are calling for limits on the number and strength of opioid pills prescribed. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is close to taking the unprecedented step of issuing national guidelines to curb liberal opioid prescribing practices widely blamed as the cause of the epidemic. “It isn’t drug dealers that are on our South American border that are our biggest challenge,” Democratic Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said last month at a meeting of the National Governors Association. “It is our drug dealers who are FDA-approved selling the stuff in every pharmacy in America.” (Vestal, 3/3)
Senate Moves To Wrap Up Opioid Bill
The Senate is hoping to finish its work on a bipartisan opioid bill next week. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved to end debate on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and a key substitute amendment on Thursday evening. (Carney, 3/3)
Are Drugmakers Getting A Pass On The Opioid Problem?
The opioid issue has landed squarely in the middle of the Senate’s election year legislative agenda with a bipartisan bill on the verge of passage, and more coming down the pike. Opioid abuse has become arguably the most unifying issue in Washington. ... Some lawmakers are now suggesting that drugmakers need to accept at least some responsibility for the country’s addiction problem. (Owens, 3/3)
U.S. Senator Calls For GAO Probe To Protect Babies Born Drug-Dependent
The ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate subcommittee on children and families wants a congressional watchdog agency to investigate whether states are complying with a federal law meant to protect newborns in drug withdrawal and help their families. In a letter sent this week to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania asked that the probe examine what steps Congress or the Obama Administration could take "to improve compliance and save the lives of vulnerable infants." (3/3)
And one woman's story tells the tale of an ever-growing epidemic —
The Kansas City Star:
Kansas City Woman's Opioid Abuse Reflects US Epidemic
Sitting in a back room at a Kmart, Rachelle Allen came face to face with the woman she'd become. There she was on the store's security video, shoplifting a pair of tennis shoes. The blank-faced woman on the screen had matted, unwashed hair. On that cold winter night two years ago, she wore nothing but flip-flops, tattered jeans and a hoodie. As she watched, a security guard rummaged through her purse, finding illegal pills and drug paraphernalia. (Bavley, 3/4)