Opioid Package Passes Congress, to be Signed by President Trump
WASHINGTON – Today, Congress sends broad, bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid epidemic to President Trump to be signed into law.
This sweeping legislation is a culmination of months of bipartisan work by five committees in the Senate and eight committees in the House of Representatives, including the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
“More than 100 people in the United States die from opioid overdoses every day. Midwestern states like Iowa have seen opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 to September 2017. The devastating effects of the opioid epidemic are clear and more has to be done to reduce its impact,” Grassley said. “This broad, bipartisan legislation will help those fighting this epidemic on the front lines through grants aimed at education, prevention and treatment. I look forward to President Trump signing it into law.”
Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, has been a leading voice in the fight against opioid addiction.
Grassley provisions in the final package include:
- Increasing capacity for family-focused residential treatment to help address the increase of children in foster care due to parents with substance use disorders
- Expanding access to telehealth services to increase access to substance use treatment in rural and underserved areas
- Preventing the misuse of prescription drugs by mandating electronic prescribing of opioids in Medicare Part D
- Increasing access to safe disposal locations of unused medications
- Improving education for first responders on how to help individuals suffering from overdose caused by illicit and legal opioids
- Increasing access to medication-assisted treatment for people with substance use disorder
- Adding nurse practitioners and physician assistants to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which will shed a light on all prescribers who receive payments from opioid manufacturers
- Increasing transparency at the DEA to ensure drug manufacturers and distributors can better identify and stop suspicious orders of opioids
- Allowing the DEA to consider additional factors when setting annual quotas for opioid drug production in the United States, such as opioid abuse, overdose deaths and public health
- Requiring the Attorney General and HHS to complete a plan for educating and training health care providers in best practices for prescribing controlled substances
- Closing loopholes that hinder the prosecution of opioid analogue traffickers
- Requiring the DEA to use data to track and prevent the diversion of prescription opioids into illegal sales
- Requiring the HHS to report on the prevalence of substance use disorders in the Medicaid program
In 2016, Grassley led the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a sweeping addiction recovery bill aimed at addressing the nation’s growing heroin and opioid addiction epidemic, through the Senate. The bill, which later became law, included a number of Grassley provisions to assist in the fight against methamphetamine.
Full legislative text is available here.