House Passes the HALT Fentanyl Act

On May 25th, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 467, the Halt All Lethal Trafficking (HALT) of Fentanyl Act. The HALT Fentanyl Act will permanently make street versions of a fentanyl Schedule I, including fentanyl-related substances with no accepted medicinal use. The bill supports research on impact and effects of fentanyl-related substances. The House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair, Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY), said of the bill, “The HALT Fentanyl Act would ban all fentanyl analogues and strip the drug cartels and other criminals of the incentive to create new versions of fentanyl to skirt around the law.” The bill passed with bipartisan support, however, Democrats have expressed concerns about the bill’s mandatory minimum sentencing requirements and the potential for overcriminalization. The Senate version is led by Senator Bill Cassidy (LA) of the Education, Labor & Pensions Committee.

Articles & Resources

H.R. 467—Bill Text

FDA Approves New Opioid Overdose Reversal Treatment

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Opvee, the first nalmefene hydrochloride nasal spray for treating opioid overdoses. The product was developed under a Priority Review application and will be available by prescription for use in ambulatory and community health settings on patients 12 and older. Similar to naloxone, nalmefene is an opioid receptor antagonist which can reduce the effects of an opioid overdose. Upon approval, FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf noted, “The agency continues to advance the FDA Overdose Prevention Framework and take actionable steps that encourage harm reduction by supporting the development of novel overdose reversal products…On the heels of the FDA’s recent approval of the first over-the-counter opioid reversal agent, the availability of nalmefene nasal spray places a new prescription opioid reversal option in the hands of communities, harm reduction groups and emergency responders.”

Articles & Resources

FDA-FDA Approves Prescription Nasal Spray to Reverse Opioid Overdose

FDA Approves New Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Following several other approvals to combat the opioid crisis, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Brixadi an extended-release buprenorphine injection to treat severe opioid use disorder. The treatment has two formulations – a weekly injection and a monthly injection – that can be used by patients already undergoing buprenorphine treatment. The new product is currently under a risk mitigation strategy (REMS) and will only be administered in a healthcare setting by healthcare providers. In a press release, FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said, “Buprenorphine is an important treatment option for opioid use disorder. Today’s approval expands dosing options and provides people with opioid use disorder a greater opportunity to sustain long-term recovery.”

Articles & Resources

FDA—FDA Approves New Buprenorphine Treatment Option for Opioid Use Disorder

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.

Axios—Biden Administration Urges Congress to Pass GOP-Led Fentanyl Bill

CBC News—Manitoba Launches Online Guide Aiming to Improve Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

JAMA—Buprenorphine Prescribing Not Contingent on Counseling, Other Services

JAMA Network Open—Medical Costs of Substance Use Disorders in the US Employer-Sponsored Insurance Population

JAMA Network—Reducing Opioid Use for Chronic Pain With a Group-Based Intervention A Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Psychiatry—Trends in Illicit Ketamine Seizures in the US From 2017 to 2022

The New England Journal of Medicine—Ketamine versus ECT for Nonpsychotic Treatment-Resistant Major Depression

Oregon SB238—Relating to School Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policies

Senator Hassan—Senators Hassan, Cornyn and Representatives Pappas, Gonzales Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Crack Down on Dark Web Drug Trafficking

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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