Bill to Expand Access to Buprenorphine Lands 218 U.S. House Supporters
Last week, the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (MAT) Act, originally introduced in the House by Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY), Michael Turner (R-OH), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) in April, received bipartisan support from 218 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Under the current law, any clinician can administer buprenorphine, but they must apply for an X-waiver from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to write prescriptions for the opioid use disorder treatment. The bill would eliminate the X-waiver buprenorphine prescribing requirements for clinicians and would allow community health practitioners to dispense buprenorphine without requiring a DEA registration if the drug was prescribed by a clinician via telehealth. In response to the bill receiving majority support, Representative Antonio Delgado said, “The opioid epidemic is ravaging communities across the country, including upstate New York. Yet, backward policies make it harder for health professionals to prescribe addiction treatment medications than it is to prescribe opioids themselves. This legislation has the support of a majority of members in the House — both Republicans and Democrats. We must act quickly to pass this legislation and save lives. I thank Congressmen Tonko, Turner, and Gonzalez for their partnership on this critical issue.”
Articles & Resources
Congressman Antonio Delgado – 218 Members of Congress from Both Sides of the Aisle Support Live-Saving Legislation
Bloomberg Government – H.R. 1384
Additional Co-Sponsors Join Bills Aimed at Expanding HHS Actions to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Two bills introduced earlier this year – the Opioid Prescription Verification Act of 2021 and the Synthetic Opioid Danger Awareness Act – have received additional co-sponsors supporting the bills. The Opioid Prescription Verification Act of 2021, introduced by Representative Rodney Davis (IL-13) in April, would require that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) update training materials for pharmacists on how to verify the identities of people picking up prescription opioids, including checking IDs when dispensing opioids and entering the information of the person picking up an opioid prescription into the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to allow law enforcement to track patterns of misuse. The legislation would also require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collaborate with other agencies to provide guidance to pharmacists on ID checks and safe dispensing. As of last week, the bill had 8 co-sponsors. The Synthetic Opioid Danger Awareness Act, introduced in April by Representative Andy Kim (NJ-03), would require HHS to develop and implement a national education campaign, training guide, and webinar for the public, first responders, and clinicians about the dangers of exposure to synthetic opioids. As of last week, two additional co-sponsors were added to the bill.
Articles & Resources
Bloomberg Government – H.R. 2364
Bloomberg Government – H.R. 2355
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.
American Council on Science and Health – Mefentanyl: Fentanyl’s Evil Cousin
Bloomberg Government – Biden Plan to Fight Drug Overdose Rise Triggers Partisan Divides
Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster – Kuster Urges Passage of Her Bipartisan STOP Fentanyl Act During Energy & Commerce Hearing
Forbes – Opioid Overdoses Are A Raging Public Health Crisis, Driven Mostly By Illicit Fentanyl And Heroin
Senator Rob Portman – On Senate Floor, Portman Calls on Washington to Respond to Surging Addiction Epidemic
The Hill – The opioid crackdown leaves chronic pain patients in limbo
The Lancet – Clinical impact, costs, and cost-effectiveness of hospital-based strategies for addressing the US opioid epidemic: a modelling study
The Lancet – Medicaid expansion and variability in mortality in the USA: a national, observational cohort study
The Washington Post – New opioids, more powerful than fentanyl, are discovered in D.C. amid deadly wave of overdoses
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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