Synthetic Opioid Comes as Third Wave of Opioid Epidemic
WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today announced a hearing for Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Fentanyl: The Next Wave of the Opioid Crisis.”
Subcommittee members will examine the rapidly-growing threat of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. While fentanyl is a tightly controlled prescription medicine used to treat extreme pain, it is also easy to illicitly manufacture and has been increasingly seen on the streets and the Internet. This powerful opioid and its chemical variations have contributed to more than 5,000 overdose deaths in the United States since 2013.
The Energy and Commerce Committee has led the charge in combating the opioid epidemic, beginning with the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations’ examination of heroin and opioids. This work resulted in legislative solutions, many of which were included in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which is now law. The 21st Century Cures Act, also law, authorized additional funding for state grants to address the epidemic.
“With the surge of fentanyl, we’ve seen an uptick in fatal overdoses that are hitting families in our very own neighborhoods,” said Chairman Murphy. “The passage of CARA and 21st Century Cures were critical first steps, but more work remains. Next week’s hearing will be important to further examine this crisis and how we can bolster our federal response.”
The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted.