Join Us at 3:00pm for CEPOP’s December All-Participants Call

CEPOP will be hosting its final All-Participants Teleconference of 2020 this afternoon at 3:00pm ET. We’re pleased, as always, to have to several fantastic focus topic speakers joining us to discuss timely and pressing components of the national response to combat the opioid epidemic. With a packed agenda, we’ll cover some of CEPOP’s most pressing policy and advocacy priorities including funding/appropriations and ongoing efforts by federal agency partners to combat prescription and illicit opioid misuse, abuse and diversion.

CEPOP All-Participants Teleconference (December 2020)

  • To join WebEx, please CLICK HERE.
  • Or, to join via conference call:
    • Conference Line: (855) 244-8681
    • Participant Code: 126 984 1538
    • Quick Dial: (855) 244-8681;;1269841538#

Senators Portman, Whitehouse and Klobuchar Introduce CARA 2.0 to Combat Epidemic

On Friday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a second iteration of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA 2.0. Building upon the 2016 bill, Senators Portman, Whitehouse, and Klobuchar are aiming to increased authorized funding for epidemic response ($765 million) along with other policy reforms aimed at addressing evidence-driven prevention, treatment and recovery initiatives alongside targeted criminal justice and law enforcement interventions.

According to the release, CARA 2.0 seeks to target particular changes that drive research into pain management and addiction treatment, improve prescribing habits and provider education, test new and innovative treatment modalities, and improve utilization of telehealth for mental health and substance use disorder treatment.

A copy of the bill text, section-by-section and one-pager are attached for reference.

Articles & Resources

Senator Portman Newsroom – Portman, Whitehouse, Klobuchar Introduce CARA 2.0 to Increase Access to Treatment, Prevention & Bolster Fight Against Addiction Epidemic

Senate Subcommittee Prods STOP Act Implementation

On Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing into the status of the STOP Act’s implementation. Included as part of the October 2018 SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, the STOP Act was intended to better secure the U.S. from synthetic opioids entering the country via international mail through ports of entry and international mail facilities. As of January 1, 2021, it is expected that all international mail parcels entering the U.S. would contain a set of ‘advance electronic data’ or otherwise be returned to sender.

Witnesses noted that the law has been instrumental in cracking down on the influx of fentanyl and other illicit drugs into the country with more than 40 tons of drugs seized in the past several years. Due to increased scrutiny on IMFs, law enforcement is seeing a shift towards smuggling of fentanyl and other illicit narcotics via land borders in the Southwest United States.

According to hearing witnesses, the Act has been successful in part with 54% of current packages containing the data. However, if compliance doesn’t improve, Chairman Portman estimated that upwards of 150,000 packages per day would be turned back or destroyed.

Articles & Resources

HSGAC Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations – Combatting the Opioid Crisis: Oversight of the Implementation of the STOP Act

Bloomberg – International Mail to Be Disrupted By Opioid Law, USPS Warns

Former Rep. Kennedy Among Three Vying to Lead ONDCP

Heading into 2021 and the Biden Administration, speculation still exists around who will be tapped to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy. On Friday, Bloomberg reported three names of potential nominees led by former Rhode Island Congressman and vocal mental health advocate Patrick Kennedy. Also included in the short list of names is former SAMHSA Director H. Westley Clark and ASAM past president Dr. Kelly Clark. These names are significant in that it demonstrates a shift on how the incoming administration is likely to address the opioid epidemic through the office of the drug czar. Stakeholders appear encouraged by the potential nomination of an individual with significant experience in addressing mental health and addiction issues.

Articles & Resources

Bloomberg – Kennedy Scion, Former Lawmaker and Ex-Addict, Bids for Drug Czar

What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the issue. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Articles & Resources

JAMA Surgery – Perioperative Cannabis as a Potential Solution for Reducing Opioid and Benzodiazepine Dependence

JAMA Psychiatry Prescription Opioid Use and Risk for Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety and Stress-Related Disorders: A Multivariable Mendelian Randomization Analysis

JAMA Network Open – Association Between Benzodiazepine Use With or Without Opioid Use and All-Cause Mortality in the United States, 1999-2015

Law360 – Feds Call Walmart Preemptive Opioid Suit Improper

Medical Xpress – New Data Show Missed Opportunities and Barriers to Access for Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in States

San Francisco Chronicle – HCA Healthcare Doubles Collections on Opioid Take-Back Day

Washington Post – Despite Efforts by Bowser and DC Council, Opioid Deaths Hit Records this Year

The Oklahoman – Oklahoma AG Wants 20 Times More Money in J&J Opioid Case

NPR – McKinsey Apologizes for Helping Purdue Pharma ‘Turbocharge’ Opioid Sales

CNN – A Mother’s Fragile Recovery Reminds Us That The Opioid Crisis Is Still Here

NBC Chicago – Cook County Sees Record Opioid Deaths in Midst of Pandemic

Seattle Times – Overcoming the Challenges of Addiction Recovery During a Pandemic

Pear Therapeutics – Pear Therapeutics Announces Publication of Economic Analysis Assessing the Cost-Effectiveness of reSET-O in Treating Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)

PR Newswire  – Highmark and axialHealthcare Expand Partnership with Launch of Member Support Program for Substance Use Disorder

National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors – Policy Brief: Disasters and Substance Use – Implications for the Response to COVID-19 – Best Practices for Designing and Implementing Substance Use Disorder (SUD)-Focused Health Homes

Federal Register – Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records

HHS Office of Inspector General – Few Patients Received High Amounts of Opioids from IHS-Run Pharmacies

Department of Justice – Pain Clinic Medical Providers Sentenced for Their Roles in Operating Pill Mills in Tennessee

Department of Justice – Texas Clinic Owner and Clinic Employee Sentenced to Prison for Conspiring to Unlawfully Prescribe Hundreds of Thousands of Opioids

Department of Justice – Eastern Kentucky Doctor Sentenced to Prison for Unlawfully Distributing Controlled Substances

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia – U.S. Attorneys, DEA Launch Website to Combat Stigma of Substance Use Disorder

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania – Greensburg Physician Sentenced to Prison for Drug Distribution, Health Care Fraud, and Money Laundering

U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey – Camden Man Admits Trafficking in High-Dose Oxycodone Pills

U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey – Doctor Admits Distributing Opioids to Patients and Soliciting Sexual Favors from Patients in Exchange for Opioids

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California – Doctor Pays $153,000 to Resolve Allegations of Overprescribing Opioids at his Escondido Clinic

This Week’s Calendar

We are now in the final stretch of the 116th Congress with the new continuing resolution set to expire at the end of this week. Much of this week’s agenda is focused on wrapping up lame duck legislative priorities, COVID-19 relief and federal government funding. We do anticipate, however, that the House Oversight & Reform Committee will hold a hearing with Purdue Pharma executives on Thursday. In the instance that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

  • House Oversight and Reform Committee
    The Role of Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family in the Opioid Epidemic
    Tuesday, December 17th; 9:00am; Hearing Notice

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