“This is one of those times when we all may know—we certainly do in my family—we all may know other families who’ve been affected by this growing epidemic, this problem ... We need to make addressing this opioid epidemic a priority, and that is exactly what the House will do.” -- Speaker Ryan, March 15
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has announced that the House will take up legislation in May to combat the nation's opioid epidemic.
Here is a summary of legislation that the full House has passed:
- July 10, 2015: Passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which allows Medicare Part D plans to develop a safe program for beneficiaries who are prescribed a high volume of controlled substances.
- September 8, 2015: Passed the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act, which reauthorizes a program that bolsters the use of monitoring programs to fight the growing prescription drug abuse epidemic.
- November 25, 2015: President Obama signed into law the Protecting Our Infants Act, which addresses the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and infants suffering from opioid withdrawal.
Here is a summary of action by House committees:
Education & the Workforce
- H.R. 4843, by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), which will require the Department of Health and Human Services to better ensure states are meeting current child welfare requirements, particularly protections for infants born with illegal substance exposure.
Energy & Commerce
- H.R. 4641, by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA), which will help develop the best practices for the use of prescription opioids to prevent lawful prescription use from becoming addictive.
- H.R. 3250, by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), which will ban the sale of drugs containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to those under 18, reducing the risk of youth opioid addiction.
- H.R. 4978, by Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), which will require the Comptroller General of the United States to issue a report on neonatal abstinence system to determine how effectively current programs are helping babies suffering withdrawal.
- H.R. 3680, by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), which will authorize grants for co-prescribing opioid reversal drugs to those patients with a high risk of overdose, saving lives by improving our ability to stop opioid overdoses.
- H.R. 3691, by Rep. Ben Lujan (D-NM), which will authorize a pilot program for state substance abuse agencies to flexibly use funding to help pregnant and postpartum women with a substance abuse disorders, helping women and their infant children who face the hardship of addiction.
- H.R. 4599, by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), which will allow prescriptions to only be partially fulfilled by a pharmacist—at the request of the doctor—to limit the number of prescription opioids available.
- H.R. 1818, by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), which will streamline the procedures for veterans with emergency medical training to become civilian emergency medical technicians, increasing the number of medical first responders to help those at risk of overdose.
- H.R. 4586, by Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) and Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), which will improve the dispensation of opioid overdose reversal medication.
- H.R. 4969, by Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), and Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), which will improve information and materials available to teenagers and adolescents injured in sports who are at risk opioid addiction.
- H.R. 4976, by Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), which will task the FDA to make an action plan on how to deal with the opioid epidemic.
- H.R. 3394, by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), which will allow the blocked assets of foreign terrorist drug dealers to be used to compensate victims of terrorist attacks that they perpetrated.
- H.R. 5046, by Rep. Jim Sensbrenner (R-WI), which will establish a streamlined, comprehensive opioid abuse grant program that encompasses a variety of new and existing programs, such as vital training and resources for first responders and law enforcement, criminal investigations for the unlawful distribution of opioids, drug courts, and residential substance abuse treatment.
- H.R. 5048, by Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH), require the Government Accountability Office to study state and local Good Samaritan laws that protect caregivers, law enforcement personnel, and first responders who administer opioid overdose reversal drugs or devices from criminal liability, as well as those who contact emergency service providers in response to an overdose.
- H.R. 5052, by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), which will increase the transparency and accountability of the comprehensive opioid abuse grant program.