Bipartisan Legislation to Support Non-Opioid Treatments

At the end of February, Senators Thom Tillis (NC) and Mark Kelly (AZ) introduced the Alternatives to Prevent Addiction in the Nation (Alternatives to PAIN) Act. The bill will provide greater access to non-opioid treatments for pain management for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. The language outlines limiting cost-sharing for patients to receive non-opioid care, prohibiting utilizing step therapy and prior authorization for these drugs, and encouraging ongoing dialogue between patients and healthcare professionals. Senator Kelly is quoted saying, “Opioid addiction doesn’t discriminate by age and, sadly, Medicare beneficiaries are at particular risk…Too often, Medicare Part D makes it unaffordable for seniors to get non-opioid pain relievers and forces them to settle for a prescription with a higher risk of addiction and overdose. Our bill would remove these barriers so that seniors are able to choose the treatment that is best for them.”

Articles & Resources

Senator Thom Tillis—Tillis, Kelly Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Access to Non-Opioid Treatments

Senators Push for Fentanyl Crackdown Support in FY25 Budget

On February 29th, fifteen Democratic senators penned a letter to President Biden requesting “robust funding” for border security and drug policy in the President’s budget for Fiscal Year 2025. Lawmakers note the increased proliferation of fentanyl across the U.S. and increased prevalence in youth use and overdose. The authors push for additional funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its border operations, with specific requests for increased hiring, non-intrusive scanning technology, and infrastructure updates at ports of entry. The group also asks for increased investments in other agency programs to investigate trafficking crimes and transnational criminal organizations.

Articles & Resources

Letter to President Biden

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.

CBS News—Oregon nurse replaced patient’s fentanyl drip with tap water; wrongful death lawsuit alleges

The Economist—America’s ten-year-old fentanyl epidemic is still getting worse

Michigan Health & Human Services—Michigan addressing racial disparities in overdose deaths through harm reduction, other data-driven programs in upcoming year

Nevada Current—Pharmacists in Nevada will soon be able to prescribe opioid addiction medication

Pharmacy Practice News—A 4-Step Plan for Managing Opioid Use Disorder in the ICU

Sagely Speaking—Christopher Jones, SAMHSA

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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