Senate Bill to Fight Opioid Crisis

Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Chairman of the Senate Health Committee reports that the bill “Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018” passed by the Senate Health Committee will help to create an environment for states to fight the opioid crisis.

The legislation includes over 40 different proposals from 38 different senators including legislation to help stop illegal drugs like fentanyl at the border, accelerate research on non-addictive pain medicines, reduce the number of inappropriately prescribed opioids, and support state interventions for children who have experienced trauma, such as a parent using opioids.

Several provisions included in the “Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 would provide grants, support the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), plus one provision refers to how and when telemedicine can be used to prescribe controlled substances.

Specific provisions included in the Act would:

  • Reauthorize and improve grants to states and Indian tribes for prevention, response, and treatment to mitigate the opioid crisis authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act for three more years
  • Authorize CDC to provide grants to states, localities, and tribes to collect data and implement key prevention strategies
  • Provide support for states to improve PDMPs to encourage data sharing between doctors and pharmacies so they can know if patients have a history of substance misuse
  • Authorize the Department of Labor to address the workforce impact for communities affected by the opioid crisis through grants targeted at workforce shortages for the substance use and mental health treatment workforce along with job training and treatment services
  • Improve treatment access to patients by requiring DEA to issue regulations on how qualified providers can prescribe controlled substances in limited circumstances via telemedicine
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