Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Improve Mail-back Drug Disposal

Last week, Representatives Virginia Foxx (NC-05) and Deborah Ross (NC-02) introduced the Reduce Exposure and the Threat of Unused Residual Narcotics (RETURN) Act. Under current law, reverse drug distributors that receive unwanted, unusable, or outdated opioids from consumers and some state and local governments through drug mail-back programs are required to destroy opioids on-site. The bill would allow reverse drug distributors to inspect packages and send them elsewhere for processing and destruction in order to reduce exposure during the destruction process. In a statement, Representative Foxx said, “The bipartisan Reduce Exposure and the Threat of Unused Residual Narcotics Act has one simple goal: to make it easier for both manufacturers and consumers to keep opioids off our streets by creating a commonsense approach to the destruction of unused opioids. It’s high time that this issue gets the attention it so deserves.”

Articles & Resources

Representative Virginia Foxx – Foxx Leads Bipartisan Effort To Combat The Opioid Epidemic

ONDCP Releases Model Law for States to Increase Access to SUD Treatment

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced a new model law for states that includes legislative suggestions to reduce the barriers to treatment and encourage people with substance use and mental health disorders to receive treatment. The model law – Law Enforcement and Other First Responder Deflection Act – includes recommendations to encourage first responders to set up deflection programs that provide support to those at risk and pathways to treatment and recovery services, medication for addiction treatment, whole family services, and housing. In a press conference, ONDCP director Rahul Gupta said, “We are concerned people are dying because of these legal barriers. Where you live should not determine whether you can access life-saving treatment.” The model law was developed in collaboration with the Legislative Analysis and Public Policy Association and the Police, Treatment, and Community Collaborative.

Articles & Resources

LAPPA – Model Law Enforcement and Other First Responder Deflection Act

Bloomberg Government – Drug Czar Taps States to Push Treatment for Those with Addiction

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.

Bloomberg Government – Opioid Pledge to Prove Tricky for FDA Head Dogged by Pharma Ties

CNN – Black and brown communities had highest increases in drug overdose death rates during pandemic, study says

Congresswoman Carol Miller – Congresswoman Miller Introduces West Virginia’s Dr. Matthew Christiansen in Congressional Roundtable on Addiction Recovery

DOJ – National Institute of Justice Studies Ways to Disrupt Opioid Distribution Network

JAMA Psychiatry – Evaluation of Increases in Drug Overdose Mortality Rates in the US by Race and Ethnicity Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

NIH – NIH, HHS leaders call for research and policy changes to address oral health inequities

Representative Paul Tonko – Tonko, Turner Respond to President’s Call to Advance their Addiction Treatment Legislation

Rockefeller Institute – Drug Overdose Mortality During the Pandemic

Senator Gary Peters – Peters Calls for Robust Funding to Support DHS Border Security and Drug Detection

STAT – Supreme Court debates exactly when a doctor’s misprescribing becomes criminal

The Lancet Public Health – Opioid overdose crisis: time for a radical rethink

The New York Times – Sacklers and Purdue Pharma Reach New Deal With States Over Opioids

The Washington Post – Sackler family members to contribute up to $6 billion in latest agreement to resolve opioid claims

This Week’s Calendar

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing: “Lessons from the Frontline: COVID-19’s Impact on American Health Care” Wednesday, March 2nd; 10:30 a.m.; Hearing Notice

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