Issue in Focus

Combating the Opioid Crisis: Spotlight


In The News

Energy and Commerce’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis have received national attention from leading news outlets.  From groundbreaking findings from the committee’s bipartisan investigation into alleged pill dumping in West Virginia, to the announcement of legislative hearings, below is just some of the recent coverage.

The Wall Street Journal

House Republicans Plan Legislative Hearings As First Step to Fight Opioid Crisis

House Republicans will begin a series of legislative hearings next week as the first step in an effort to pass bipartisan bills tackling the opioid crisis.

The plan from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will hold the first hearing on Feb. 28, will likely require additional funding from Congress, lawmakers said. Bills to be considered will focus on law enforcement, public health and prevention, and insurance coverage issues.

Read more here.

CNN

This is how lawmakers plan to end the opioid crisis

Fresh on the heels of President Donald Trump’s plan to tackle the opioid crisis, House lawmakers this week plan to introduce more than two dozen bills aimed at ending the epidemic, ranging from better access to treatment programs to exploring opioid alternatives for pain.

The bills will be the focus of two days of hearings on Wednesday and Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee with the focus on public health and prevention initiatives.

Chairman Greg Walden, a Republican from Oregon, has made combating the opioid epidemic the committee’s top priority, saying lawmakers are “crafting legislative solutions to help stem the tide and investigating some of the root causes of this scourge.”

Read more here.

USA Today

Congress prepares to take on opioid crisis amid evidence the epidemic is growing worse

Responding to a public health crisis that shows no signs of letting up, Congress is preparing to move forward on a package of bills aimed at curbing the nation’s growing addiction to painkillers. A House subcommittee will begin considering more than two dozen proposals this week that would make it easier for those addicted to get treatment, speed up research on opioid abuse and detect and intercept shipments of opioids such as fentanyl into the United States. The panel hopes to have the package ready for a vote in the full House before Memorial Day.

Read more here.

NBC Nightly News

On February 1, 2018, NBC Nightly News highlighted the committee’s expanding West Virginia pill dumping investigation.  Watch the on-air segment below:

Watch the video and read NBC News’ full report here.

Charleston Gazette-Mail

Who is with WV and who’s with the pill pushers?
By the Editorial Board

After looking at the flood of addictive pills poured into West Virginia for profit over the last decade or so, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said recently:

“These numbers are outrageous, and we will get to the bottom of how this destruction was able to be unleashed across West Virginia.”

Then, at The Greenbrier resort last week, Walden told reporters his committee is not getting enough cooperation from the U.S. Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Agency.

That’s a Republican congressman, by the way, working on a bipartisan cause, having trouble getting an appropriate response from the Republican administration. The congressman’s difficulty raises questions, again, about how serious the DEA is — or more accurately, the DEA’s bosses are — about killer opioids in West Virginia.

Read more here.

The Washington Post

One small town, two drug companies and 12.3 million doses of opioids

Two of the nation’s biggest drug distributors shipped 12.3 million doses of powerful opioids to a single pharmacy in a tiny West Virginia town over an eight-year period, a congressional committee revealed Thursday.

The Family Discount Pharmacy in Mount Gay-Shamrock received the drugs from McKesson Corp. and Cardinal Health between 2006 and 2014, according to the House Energy and Commerce committee.

Read more here.

 

Drug executives to testify before Congress about their role in U.S. opioid crisis

Current and former executives with the pharmaceutical companies that are accused of flooding communities with powerful prescription painkillers have been summoned to testify before Congress about their role in the U.S. opioid epidemic.

The hearing, scheduled for May 8 before a House Energy and Commerce Committee oversight panel, has the potential to be a defining moment for the pharmaceutical industry, much like when tobacco executives were called to testify before Congress in 1994. The pharmaceutical executives are expected to face tough questions under oath about why their companies pumped so many highly addictive pain pills into West Virginia and other states, fueling what has become the deadliest drug crisis in U.S. history.

Read more here.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Photo courtesy U.S. Chamber of Commerce

In March 2018,  House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) delivered keynote remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as part of a forum examining solutions to combat the opioid crisis.

More on the U.S. Chamber event here.

American Enterprise Institute

Photo courtesy of Aaron Clamage Photography © American Enterprise Institute

In November 2017, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) joined the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) for a conversation on Congress’ efforts to combat the opioid crisis. Following the discussion, Chairman Walden stopped by AEI’s policy podcast, Banter.

To view the entire AEI event click here.

Hearst Television

On September 13, 2017, Hearst Television aired a live primetime one-hour special across its station group to address America’s opioid epidemic.  The special included a segment with Chairman Walden, who highlighted the committee’s ongoing investigations related to the opioid crisis.

Click the image to view the entire special.  Chairman Walden appears at 49:13.

Chairman Walden’s Sept. 2017 Op-Ed on the Opioid Crisis

“The effects are disastrous and heartbreaking. The reach is from coast to coast. The opioid crisis has truly reached epidemic proportions, fueled by dangerous new chemical versions and illicitly manufactured synthetic drugs. Scan the headlines on any given day and you’ll hear about a life gone too soon to addiction or about a raid that seized obscene quantities of prescription painkillers or illicit drugs.

“It is killing our friends, family members and neighbors in communities across the country.”

Read more in Morning Consult.

Visit energycommerce.house.gov/opioids for more information on our overall efforts to Combat the Opioid Crisis