WASHINGTON, DC – This week, President Donald Trump signed H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, landmark legislation authored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) to combat the opioid crisis. The bill is a crucial step in the right direction in our fight to prevent diversion, abuse, and overdose and will save lives.
H.R. 6 takes important steps to combat the crisis by improving treatment and recovery, implementing new prevention methods, protecting communities from illicit drugs, and fighting fentanyl – a potent illicit drug 100 times more powerful than heroin.
Several media reports highlight the major impacts H.R. 6 will make, as well as programs the Trump administration is undertaking to operate in tandem with congressional action.
“The legislation expands access to substance abuse treatment in Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled; cracks down on mailed shipments of illicit drugs such as fentanyl, a synthetic opioid far more powerful than heroin; and provides a host of new federal grants to address the crisis.”
“The legislative package directs funding to federal agencies and states so they can make increasing access to addiction treatment a priority, and sets in place interventions to help mitigate the crisis, like preventing overprescription and training law enforcement to intercept shipments, including the deadly and highly addictive drug fentanyl, at U.S. borders… Moreover, it will be remembered as a major bipartisan feat at the end of another congressional term that many consider to be the most divisive and bitterly partisan one yet.”
“The Department of Health and Human Services will oversee a grant program to expand the use of ‘comprehensive recovery centers,’ which include job training, mental health services and housing alongside addiction treatment. The model has proven successful in some parts of the country.”
Many Energy and Commerce Committee Members who helped craft H.R. 6 throughout the committee process outlined how the bill will help their constituents:
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX): “This landmark legislation is the culmination of months of bipartisan work to combat the opioid crisis from every angle. H.R. 6 brings critical support to the communities most desperately in need, provides new tools and resources for those on the front lines of this crisis, and helps stop the flow of deadly drugs across our borders. Rarely can we say that legislation will save lives, but there is no doubt that H.R. 6 will do just that.”
Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN): “More relief is on the way for our communities. H.R. 6 is a package of common-sense solutions that will help our nation advance treatment and recovery initiatives for people struggling with substance abuse, improve prevention efforts so more lives are not lost as a result of the heroin and opioid epidemic, and enhance our efforts to fight the entry of deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl into our country.”
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA): “This is the most comprehensive action we’ve taken to combat the opioid epidemic. It will bolster treatment and recovery initiatives, improve prevention, protect our communities, and fight synthetic drugs like fentanyl that are coming across our borders from China and Mexico.”
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA): “For all who are fighting the opioid crisis, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act delivers help. It includes tools to treat addiction, reduce the availability of illegal substances, develop non-addictive painkillers, and gather more information about this epidemic. I was proud to be part of the major bipartisan effort that produced this law.”
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC): “This landmark legislation is aimed to advance treatment and recovery options, provide the much-needed resources to help communities, and strengthen the fight against illicit synthetic drugs. Too many families have been impacted by the scourge of the opioid epidemic, and I am thankful that Congress and President Trump came together to produce critical solutions to start addressing this ever-growing problem.”
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH): “The opioid crisis claims an average of 115 American lives every day. There is no simple solution that will solve this epidemic, but the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act is a significant step in the right direction in the fight against opioid abuse.”
Some Members took to Twitter to share the good news:
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) is the chief architect of Jessie’s Law, a provision of H.R. 6 ensuring doctors have access to a consenting patient’s prior history of addiction in an effort to improve treatment outcomes.
Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) leant his experties as a doctor, and a surgeon specializing in cardiothoracic surgery, to the crafting of this important legislation.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) authored a provision of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act known as the SOUND Act, designed to improve packaging design, and increase proper disposal of unused medications.
To learn more about how the Energy and Commerce Committee is continuing to combat the opioid crisis, click HERE.