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Friday, June 15, 2018

25 Bills Tackle Opioid Epidemic

opioids
More than 42,000 people died from opioids in 2016, according to the latest-available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Total drug overdose deaths in the same year puts that above number to over 60, 000 people. An epidemic in every sense of the word is really the only way to describe the climate of opioid use in America.

A good number of people believe that there is not much that can be done to curb the deadly crisis we face. The right to have one’s pain managed effectively is one that practically every patient, and doctor alike, takes seriously. While it is true that until something better comes along that carries less of a risk of addiction and overdose, prescription opioids are here to stay; yet, there is much that can be done to prevent people from going down the path of addiction, making it easier for reversing the symptoms of an overdose, and ensuring that every American can access addiction treatment services.

The death toll has not gone unnoticed by lawmakers in the House, Senate, and ostensibly the White House. In recent years, bipartisan support has led to several bills aiming to affect changes that can save lives. Unfortunately, the problem we face is severely complex; even if prescription opioids magically disappeared or are made extremely difficult to acquire, people will still find a way to get their hands on this most deadly class of narcotics. Still, it is vital that we do not lose hope and work together as a society to prevent and treat opioid addiction.


Changes On The Horizon


All week-long lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have been passing legislation meant to tackle the epidemic, according to the Energy and Commerce Committee. In fact, so far legislators approved 25 such bills that could bring about significant changes:
  • H.R. 449, the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2018, requires the U.S. Surgeon General to submit a comprehensive report to Congress on the public health effects of the rise of synthetic drug use among youth aged 12 to 18 in order to better educate parents and medical community on the health effects of synthetics.
  • H.R. 5009, “Jessie's Law,” requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and disseminate best practices regarding the prominent display of substance use disorder (SUD) history in patient records of patients who have previously provided this information to a health care provider.
  • H.R. 4684, the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act of 2018, authorizes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop, publish, and disseminate best practices for operating recovery housing that promotes a safe environment for sustained recovery from substance use disorder (SUD).
  • H.R. 4284, the Indexing Narcotics, Fentanyl, and Opioids (INFO) Act of 2017, directs HHS to create a public and easily accessible electronic dashboard linking to all of the nationwide efforts and strategies to combat the opioid crisis.
“Individually, these bills target some key aspects of the opioid crisis – such as how we boost our prevention efforts, and how we better protect our communities. Taken together, these bills are real solutions that will change how we respond to this crisis, and make our states and local communities better equipped in the nationwide efforts to stem this tide,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX).

For a synopsis of all 25 Bills, please click here.


Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea. We can show you what you need for achieving lasting recovery and give you the tools for everlasting progress.

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