Bill Introduced to Reduce Opioid Prescription Fraud

Last week, Representatives Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) and Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) introduced the E-Prescribing Parity for Controlled Substances Act (EPCS Act 2.0), which would require that prescribers use electronic prescriptions for all controlled substances. In a statement, the lawmakers noted that Department of Justice data suggests that fraudulent prescription opioids are often obtained through doctor shopping and forged prescriptions, and that the adoption of electronic prescriptions may reduce the occurrence of doctor shopping and prescription pad thefts, leading to reduced overdose deaths. The bill would build upon the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely (EPCS) Act, which required all providers to use electronic prescribing for controlled substances under Medicare Part D. In a press release on his website, Representative O’Halleran said, “No person is immune to the devastating effects of this epidemic. I’m proud to introduce this commonsense, bipartisan legislation that expands the use of electronic prescriptions to reduce the prevalence of fraudulent prescription opioids, increasing the quality of care for patients and saving providers and taxpayers money in the process.”

Articles & Resources

Congressman Tom O’Halleran – O’Halleran, Mullin Introduce Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic

White House Announces Funding to Address the Opioid Epidemic

Last week, the White House announced several streams of funding, to be awarded through the Department of Health and Human Services, for programs focusing improving access to treatments for substance use disorder, recovery support services, and prevention efforts. Funding includes:

  • $1.5 billion through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) State Opioid Response and Tribal Opioid Response grant programs. Funding will allow eligible states, tribal lands, and territories’ to increase access to treatments, overdose reversal medications like naloxone, and 24/7 recovery support services, and increase investments in overdose education and peer support specialists.
  • $104 million through the Health Resources and Services Administration for public, private, and non-profit entities working to expand access to treatment and prevention services in rural communities as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). The funding will establish new medication-assisted treatment sites and will support investments in substance use disorder education and prevention efforts.
  • $20.5 million through SAMHSA for organizations that connect those with community-based recovery services for substance use disorder.

Articles & Resources

The White House – FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces New Actions and Funding to Address the Overdose Epidemic and Support Recovery

FDA and NIH Announce Public Workshops on Medical Devices for Opioid Use and OUD

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced two joint public workshops, “Diagnostic and Monitoring Medical Devices for Opioid Use” and “Risk Prediction Devices of Opioid Use and Opioid Use Disorder – Opportunities and Challenges”, that will be held on November 7th and November 8th. The workshops will focus on clinical studies related to medical devices to diagnose, monitor, and manage individuals using opioids and with opioid use disorder (OUD) and innovations to prevent overdoses. The workshops will also include discussions with patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to gather their perspectives on opioid use, OUD, and the impacts of OUD on their daily lives and discussions on health equity, stigma, and digital inequalities. In preparation of the workshops, the agencies have published supplementary materials here.

The public docket (FDA-2022-N-2393) will accept comments through December 7, 2022. Those interested in attending the workshop can register here.

Articles & Resources

The White House – FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Announces New Actions and Funding to Address the Overdose Epidemic and Support Recovery

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.

AP News – DEA: Fake pills containing fentanyl helping drive OD deaths

Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan – $250k for opioid response

Department of Justice – U.S. Attorney’s Office and Department of Justice Announce Results of Efforts to Reduce Fentanyl Supply and Prosecute Fentanyl Traffickers

FDA – FDA Continues Important Work on Substance Use and Overdose Prevention Efforts

NC Health News – Opioid use disorder treatment in jails making strides in North Carolina

Rand Corporation – Predictors of Long-Term Opioid Use Following Hospitalization for Traumatic Injury in a Racially and Ethnically Diverse Population

STAT – Medicare needs to cover the full spectrum of care for substance use disorders

WRNJ – DEA announces results of enforcement surge to reduce the fentanyl supply across the United States

WRNJ – U.S. Senators Menendez, Booker announce more than $66M in federal funding to fight opioid crisis in New Jersey

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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