Congress Is About To Consider 57 Bills On Opioid Crisis. But Will The Measures Do Anything To Curb The Epidemic?
Even as lawmakers gear up to consider a sweeping package of opioid bills, some experts are doubtful the legislation will do enough to address the crisis. However, the bipartisan support for the measures speaks to the fact that lawmakers know it's a winning topic for the upcoming midterms. Meanwhile, NIH has laid out its $500 million plan to combat the epidemic.
Can Major Opioids Legislation Make A Dent In A National Epidemic?
By the end of next week, the House will have considered more than 50 bills aimed at staunching the opioid crisis. The volume “may well be a record for legislating on a single issue,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Tuesday on the House floor. The House’s work touches on most aspects of the crisis, aiming to better monitor opioid prescriptions, increase treatment funding, improve drug enforcement efforts, and provide additional support to families affected by the epidemic. But does quantity equal quality? (Facher, 6/13)
The Associated Press:
House Aims At Campaign-Season Bills Battling Opioid Abuse
The House dove Tuesday into a two-week vote-a-thon on dozens of bills aimed at opioid abuse, as lawmakers try to tackle a crisis that's killing tens of thousands a year and to score a popular win they can tout for the midterm elections. A handful of the measures are contentious, including one Republican bill that would create new criminal penalties for making or trafficking certain synthetic drugs containing fentanyl. That powerful opioid can be made illegally and is taking a growing toll. Democrats complain that the legislation would give the government unfettered power to decide which drugs would be banned, without scientific input. (Fram, 6/12)
NIH Spells Out $500 Million Plan To Improve Addiction, Pain Treatment
The National Institutes of Health, thanks to Congress, will soon have an extra $500 million to spend each year on research into opioids and pain treatment. And on Tuesday, the research agency published a scientific outline showing how the increase in funding will be put to use. An opinion piece published in the Journal of the American Medical Association adds detail to a previously announced initiative called Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL), a combination of new and existing initiatives the NIH announced in April. Agency leaders wrote that the research will be split into two broad categories: improving addiction treatments and improving pain management. (Facher, 6/12)
NIH Outlines Plans For $500M To Combat Opioid Epidemic
The effort will be conducted through the NIH’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative. “Like most other pioneering scientific initiatives, HEAL will focus on a range of objectives, from short-term goals to research priorities that will take longer to bear fruit,” the trio wrote. “Yet, all will be aimed at the same ultimate vision: a nation of people with far less disabling pain and opioid addiction.” (Roubein, 6/12)
And in other news —
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Insurance Companies, With Mike DeWine, Unveil Recommendations To Fight Opioids
Eight of the state's largest health insurers unveiled 15 recommendations Thursday for the industry to fight Ohio's opioid epidemic - such as identifying addicts who are pregnant and ensuring they get into treatment. Attorney General Mike DeWine, who is running for governor as a Republican, organized the group last year. (Hancock, 6/12)
The CT Mirror:
As Opioid Deaths Soar, Esty Backs Bill That Pays For More Medical Examiners
As the number of Connecticut residents dying from opioid overdoses soared, the state’s medical examiners were inundated with bodies that needed autopsies. In 2016, the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reported 917 accidental drug deaths. During that same year, office staff performed 2,384 autopsies. (Rigg, 6/12)