Press Release

#SubHealth Announces Second Opioid Legislative Hearing, Focused on Public Health and Prevention Efforts


03.14.18

WASHINGTON, DC – The Health Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced a two-day hearing, beginning on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at 9 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Combating the Opioid Crisis: Prevention and Public Health Solutions.” The second day of the hearing will be held on Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 10 a.m. in the same room.

This will be the second of three legislative hearings to examine the opioid crisis and possible legislative solutions. Last month, #SubHealth reviewed eight bills pertaining to the Controlled Substances Act that will improve patient safety and bolster enforcement tools.

“Continuing our legislative push, we’ll examine more than 20 bills aimed at boosting our public health and prevention efforts,” said #SubHealth Chairman Burgess. “Collectively, these bipartisan bills have the potential to make a number of meaningful reforms to combat the opioid crisis. I look forward to a robust discussion about these proposals and working to fine tune them.”

Bills the Health Subcommittee will consider include:

NOTE: Some bills have not received formal titles and instead are denoted by working descriptions.

H.R. 5009, Jessie’s Law, authored by Reps. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI), will ensure medical professionals have access to a consenting patient’s complete health history when making treatment decisions by requiring 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. 4284, Indexing Narcotics, Fentanyl, and Opioids (INFO) Act (AINS), authored by #SubDCCP Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH), will direct HHS to create a public and easily accessible electronic dashboard linking to all of the nationwide efforts and strategies to combat the opioid crisis.

H.R. __, FDA Packaging and Disposal, authored by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), will direct FDA to work with manufacturers to establish programs for efficient return or destruction of unused Schedule II drugs, with an emphasis on opioids. These methods could include mail-back pouches to secure facilities for incineration, or methods to immediately inactivate/render unattractive unused drugs. In addition, this bill will facilitate utilization of packaging that may reduce overprescribing of opioids. Finally, this bill will require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study new and innovative technologies that claim to be able to safely dispose of opioids and other unused medications. GAO would review and detail the effectiveness of these disposal methods.

H.R. 5176, the Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms (POWER) Act, authored by #SubEnvironment Vice Chairman David McKinley (R-WV) and Michael Doyle (D-PA), will provide resources for hospitals to develop protocols on discharging patients who have presented with an opioid overdose. These protocols would address the provision of naloxone upon discharge, connection with peer-support specialists, and the referral to treatment and other services that best fit the patient’s needs.

H.R. 3545, the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act (AINS), authored by Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), will permit SUD records to be shared without patient consent, in accordance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and only for very specific purposes. The bill would also increase the penalties in the event of disclosure, add breach notification requirements, and provide discrimination prohibitions to protect people seeking and receiving SUD treatment.

H.R. __, the Eliminating Opioid-Related Infectious Diseases Act, authored by #SubCommTech Vice Chairman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), will authorize the CDC to undertake an injection drug use-associated infection elimination initiative and work with states to improve education, surveillance and treatment of injection drug-use associated infections, like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis.

H.R. 5261, the Treatment, Education, And Community Help (TEACH) to Combat Addiction Act, authored by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), will support Centers of Excellence, or institutions of learning that have championed SUD treatment and pain management education to improve how health professionals are taught about both SUD and pain.

H.R. __, the Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act of 2018, authored by #SubHealth Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY), will establish Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers (CORCs) that will serve as models for comprehensive treatment and recovery.  CORCs would utilize the full range of FDA-approved medications and evidence-based treatments, have strong linkages with the community, generate meaningful outcomes data, and dramatically improve the opportunities for individuals to establish and maintain long-term recovery as productive members of society.

H.R. 5272, the Reinforcing Evidence-Based Standards Under Law in Treating Substance Abuse (RESULTS) Act, authored by Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), will require entities applying for funding that would be used to support programs or activities that address mental health or SUD, to submit materials to HHS demonstrating that the programs or activities are evidence-based.

Discussion Draft, PDMPs, authored by #SubOversight Vice Chairman Morgan Griffith (R-VA), will improve current federal support for Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) by requiring a coordinated effort amongst the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to improve surveillance, data collection, and integration into physician clinical workflow so that timely, complete and accurate information will get into the hands of providers and dispensers, allowing them to make the best clinical decisions for their patients.

H.R. __, the Poison Center Network Enhancement Act of 2018, authored by Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Eliot Engel, will reauthorize the important network of centers within the National Poison Data System that offer free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Oftentimes these programs serve as the primary resource for poisoning information and help reduce Emergency Room visits through in-home treatment.

H.R. 5140, Tribal Addiction and Recovery Act of 2018 (TARA), authored by Rep. Mullin would make Indian tribes eligible to be direct grantees of State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants to fight the opioid epidemic in Indian Country, reflecting the government-to-government relationship between Indian tribes and the United States.  Tribes would receive their own $25 million allocation that they could apply directly to the federal government, instead of having to go through their states.

H.R. __, FDA Accelerated Approval & Breakthrough Therapy Status, will take steps to make FDA pathways like the accelerated approval program available to take on the opioid crisis, leading to expedited development and review of drugs which may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapies.

H.R. __, FDA and International Mail, authored by #SubCommTech Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), will streamline and enhance tools the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has available to effectively intercept illegal products. In doing so, this bill will create efficiencies for government resources and better protect American citizens from dangerous imported substances.

H.R. __, FDA Opioid Sparing, authored by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), will direct FDA to articulate clear data collection methods that could be used to inform opioid-sparing labeling claims for products that may replace, delay, or reduce or the use of opioid analgesics.

H.R. 4684, the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act, authored by Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA), Mimi Walters (R-CA), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) will authorize SAMHSA to develop, publish, and disseminate best practices for operating recovery housing that promotes a safe environment for sustained recovery from SUD.

H.R. 5002, the Advancing Cutting Edge (ACE) Research Act, authored by Rep. Debbie Dingell and #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), will provide the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with new, flexible authorities to conduct innovative research and spur urgently needed research on new non-addictive pain medications.

H.R. 5197, the Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) in the Emergency Department Act, authored by Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and David McKinley, will establish a demonstration program to test alternative pain management protocols to limit the use of opioids in hospital emergency departments.

H.R. 5102, the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act of 2018, authored by Reps. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Hal Rogers (R-KY), will create a loan repayment program for SUD treatment providers. Specifically, the bill will offer student loan repayment of up to $250,000 for participants who agree to work as a SUD treatment professional in areas most in need of their services. The program will be available to a wide range of direct care providers, including physicians, registered nurses, social workers, and other behavioral health professionals.  

H.R. 449, the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act, authored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), will require the U.S. Surgeon General to submit a comprehensive report to Congress on the public health effects of the rise in synthetic drug use among youth aged 12 to 18 in order to further educate parents and the medical community on the health effects of synthetics.

H.R. 3692, the Addiction Treatment Access Improvement Act, authored by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), will expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by allowing clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists to prescribe buprenorphine and permanently authorize non-physician providers to prescribe buprenorphine. The bill would also codify regulations that increased the cap on the number of patients a physician can treat with buprenorphine to 275 patients.

H.R. __, Fentanyl Testing, authored by Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH), will provide grants to federal, state, and local agencies for the establishment or operation of public health laboratories to detect fentanyl, its analogs, and other synthetic opioids.

H.R. __, Peer Support Specialists Workforce Grants, authored by Reps. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), and Johnson would increase the funding for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act’s Building Communities of Recovery Program and authorize HHS to award grants to peer support specialist organizations for the development and expansion of recovery services.

H.R. __, FDA Long-term Efficacy, authored by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), will enhance FDA’s authorities and enforcement tools to ensure timely post-marketing studies for chronically administered opioids.

H.R. __, FDA Misuse/Abuse, authored by #SubHealth Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX), will clarify FDA’s authority to consider misuse and abuse as part of the drug approval and assessment process for opioids. It would also augment FDA’s capacity to take necessary action to minimize the public health consequences of opioid misuse and abuse.

The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted.

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Press Release