Senators Introduce Bill to Support Fentanyl Education Efforts

Last week, Senators Maggie Hassan (NH), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Dianne Feinstein (CA), and Dan Sullivan (AK) introduced Bruce’s Law, which aims to support education efforts focused on the dangers of drugs laced with fentanyl. The bill would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to develop an education campaign about fentanyl and establish a Federal Interagency Working Group on Fentanyl Contamination. The working group would be required to consult with family members, youth, and individuals working toward recovery to develop opportunities to improve drug overdose responses, evaluate all current federal efforts to prevent and minimize drug overdose, and develop recommendations to educate youth on the dangers of drugs contaminated by fentanyl. The bill would also establish the Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grants, which would allocate funding for programs that educate youth on the dangers of drugs contaminated with fentanyl. In a statement, Senator Hassan said “This is an issue that should be approached from all angles to prevent more lives lost, which is why we provide educational grants in this bipartisan bill to increase awareness of the dangers of fentanyl. I am proud to cosponsor bipartisan legislation like Bruce’s Law to continue addressing the substance misuse crisis and pushing for necessary resources.”

Articles & Resources

Senator Maggie Hassan – HHS Invests Nearly $15 Million to Prevent and Treat Stimulant Use in Rural Communities

Senator Lisa Murkowski – Senators Introduce Bruce’s Law to Help Combat Deadly Fentanyl Epidemic

Senate Caucus Holds Hearing to Examine Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy

On June 15th, the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control held a hearing to examine the Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy, a government-wide approach to expand access to evidence-based prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery services and to reduce the supply of fentanyl. During the hearing, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Dr. Rahul Gupta, shared how ONDCP plans to implement the Strategy and meet their goals – including reducing drug overdose deaths by 13 percent, doubling treatment admissions for populations at risk of overdose deaths, increasing peer-led recovery organizations by 25 percent, increasing medication-assisted treatment for federal inmates, and increasing drug cartel trafficking investigations by 25 percent – by 2050. While lawmakers commended the Strategy’s focus on efforts to reduce overdose deaths, they also expressed concerns about whether the Strategy adequately addresses illicit drug production and includes the necessary reporting requirements to track the successes. During the hearing, the General Accountability Office presented findings from their analysis of 6 of ONDCP’s 8 Strategy documents and noted that the Strategy includes quantifiable and measurable objectives and long-term goals but does include details on performance evaluation planning, estimates of resources needed to achieve goals, or a plan for increasing data collection. ONDCP plans to release the two remaining documents later this year and is expected to the include the missing information.

Articles & Resources

NPR – White House pushes strategy to slow overdoses as street drugs grow more deadly

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Delivers Opening Remarks in Drug Caucus Hearing on the 2022 National Drug Control Strategy

GAO – Drug Policy: Preliminary Observations on the 2022 National Drug Control Strategy

What We Read Last Week

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

Bloomberg Government – H.R. 7666, Mental Health and Drug Use Grants

Bloomberg Government – OxyContin Decision Involved FDA ‘Miscalculation,’ Woodcock Says

Bloomberg Government – Tribal Mental Health Gets New Focus, But Equity Barriers Remain

Nature – Mega-model predicts US opioid deaths will soon peak

NEJM – Research to Move Policy — Using Evidence to Advance Health Equity for Substance Use Disorders

SAMHSA – Split Dose Guidance – 6/13/2022

ScienceDaily – Opioid use disorder: Flexible treatment at home proves effective

Senator Sherrod Brown – Brown Announces $500,000 for Ohio University to Help Combat Addiction and Overdose Deaths

The Scientist – Opioid Vaccines as a Tool to Stem Overdose Deaths

The White House – Statement from Dr. Rahul Gupta on Today’s CDC Overdose Death Data

UC Davis – Increased overdose and mental health risks persist two years after opioid dose reduction

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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