Bipartisan Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act Introduced in House and Senate

Last week, Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Dave Joyce (OH-14) introduced the Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act in the House and Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced companion legislation in the Senate. The bills, which were originally introduced in the last Congress, would grant the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) temporary authority to waive requirements for Drug-Free Communities program grantees to match federal dollars with local dollars if they are unable to meet the matching requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both bills are supported by various groups including the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA), NAADAC (the Association for Addiction Professionals), National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), and National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives (NPSC).

Articles & Resources

Representative Derek Kilmer – Kilmer, Joyce Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Communities Address Ongoing Opioid Crisis

Senator Rob Portman – Portman, Shaheen, Capito, Whitehouse Introduce Bipartisan Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act to Combat Ongoing Drug Crisis

H.R.654 – To provide the Administrator of the Drug-Free Communities Support Program the authority to waive the Federal fund limitation for the Drug-Free Communities Support Program

S.26 – A bill to provide the Administrator of the Drug-Free Communities Support Program the authority to waive the Federal fund limitation for the Drug-Free Communities Support Program

Acting Drug Czar Says Biden Administration Will Focus on Opioid Harm-Reduction and Action Against Drug Trafficking

According to a statement by Regina LaBelle, the Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Biden Administration will focus its opioid work on harm-reduction and drug use prevention efforts, including recovery and treatment programs, syringe exchange programs, addiction workforce expansion, drug interdiction and anti-drug trafficking actions. This is a shift from policies under the Trump Administration, which tended to reflect skepticism of the effectiveness of harm-reduction programs. LaBelle also noted that the Administration is committed to improving data collection on overdose deaths in Black, Latino and Native American communities, which experience increased overdose deaths, and endorsing “culturally competent” treatment, emphasizing “we need to make sure we have the types of prevention programs, of treatment programs that are culturally competent, because we know that one size doesn’t fit all.”

Articles & Resources

Bloomberg Law – Biden’s Opioid Focus Will Be on Treatment, Acting Drug Czar Says

McKinsey to Pay $573 Million Settlement for Opioid Work

McKinsey & Company has agreed to pay $573 million to 47 states, five territories and the District of Columbia over their role in advising opioid manufacturers on marketing opioid products and increasing opioid product sales. According to several reports, a result of the settlement includes McKinsey implementing changes to their business practices, including disclosing conflicts of interests when making future bids on state contracts, restricting their work on addictive narcotics and making all documents on their opioid work publicly available. Representatives for the states have indicated that settlement funds will be used for opioid programs focused on treatment, prevention and recovery.

Articles & Resources

The New York Times – McKinsey Settles for $573 Million Over Role in Opioid Crisis

The Wall Street Journal – McKinsey Agrees to $573 Million Settlement Over Opioid Advice

Bloomberg – McKinsey to Pay $573 Million in State Pact Over Opioid Advice

The Hill – Consulting giant McKinsey paying $573M to settle opioid case: reports

OIG Issues Report on Part D Beneficiaries’ Opioid Use and Overdose Trends During Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report examining trends in opioid use, opioid prescribing, opioid overdoses, and opioid treatment in Medicare Part D during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to previous years. According to a statement by OIG, from 2016 to 2019, the use of opioids in Medicare Part D declined while the use of drugs for treating opioid use disorder increased. OIG found that, during the first 8 months of 2020, approximately 222,000 beneficiaries received high amounts of opioids, a decrease of 15% from 2019. Additionally, approximately 5,000 beneficiaries per month experienced an overdose, with overdoses rising in June and July 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. Regarding opioid treatment, OIG researchers noted that beneficiaries receiving medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder increased compared to 2019 and that the beneficiaries receiving naloxone increased after April 2020.

Articles & Resources

OIG – Opioid Use in Medicare Part D During the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic

OIG Report

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

BMJ – Antidepressants for musculoskeletal pain

Children’s Hospital Colorado – Enhanced Recovery Efforts for Cesarean Delivery Reduce Need for Opioids by 80%

Clinical Pain Advisor – Expert Perspective: The Opioid Crisis and COVID-19

FDA – Abuse-Deterrent Opioid Analgesics

Generations Journal – Barriers Facing Older Adults with Substance Use Disorders in Post–Acute Care Settings

Generations Journal – Help for Primary Care Practitioners in Addressing Older Adult Alcohol and Opioid Use

Generations Journal – Substance Use Disorders in Older Adults: Overview and Future Directions

Health Affairs – New Interventions To Address Substance Use Disorder Must Take Financial Sustainability Into Account

Joint Economic Committee – The Epidemic Preceding the Pandemic: Opioid Overdoses Surge Again

Law360 – FDA Says 30 Websites Shuttered Over Illegal Opioid Sales

Law360 – ‘Opioid Babies’ Can’t Get Class Certification In MDL

Law360 – Walmart Loses Bid To Short-Circuit Feds’ Opioid Suit

NPR – Opioids, COVID-19 And Racism: A Deadly Trifecta

Orthopedics Today – Study finds outpatient TJA is not a risk factor for opioid dependence

ScienceDirect – Association of opioid misuse with anxiety and depression: A systematic review of the literature

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire – Nashua Man Sentenced to 35 Months for Fentanyl Trafficking

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia – Ohio woman admits to role in drug trafficking operation

UC Irvine – Nutrition, companionship reduce pain in mice with sickle cell disease, UCI-led study finds

University of Michigan – Controlling Pain After Surgery Doesn’t Have to Mean Opioids, Study Shows

World Health Organization – WHO issues new guidelines on the management of chronic pain in children

This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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