House Passes Legislation to Address Opioid Crisis
WASHINGTON, DC— Over the past two days, the House has passed 35 bills aimed at addressing the opioid crisis, which is devastating communities across New Hampshire and the nation. The series of bills passed this week includes two that Shea-Porter cosponsored, H.R. 449, the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act, and H.R. 5009, Jessie’s Law.
“Yesterday and today, the House took a step forward in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Shea-Porter. “From expanding the treatment and recovery workforce, to protecting patients recovering from substance use disorder, these bills will benefit Granite Staters who are living with opioid use disorder or are in recovery. But without more federal resources, we cannot turn the tide in this deadly crisis. Our state is still struggling to address the crisis, and the administration and Congressional Republicans refuse to help with the most important thing of all—long-term and sustainable funding.”
“I am outraged that the Trump Administration is failing to treat this crisis with the seriousness it demands while continuing to sabotage Granite Staters’ health care. Just last week, the administration filed a court motion to eliminate protections for people with preexisting conditions, meaning that those with a substance use disorder could lose their health care and access to treatment. That is beyond a betrayal; it is simply abhorrent. Furthermore, Congressional Republicans, with the administration’s enthusiastic support, sought to eliminate expanded Medicaid, which a bipartisan coalition in New Hampshire just voted to keep because almost every serious leader in the state knows that it is helping thousands of Granite Staters access the treatment services they need. It is entirely unacceptable that the administration and its cheerleaders in Congress think they can hoodwink their constituents by passing a large number of bills without funding them while they continue to do everything in their power to sabotage Americans’ health care.”
H.R. 449 would require the Surgeon General to report on the health effects of synthetic drug use. The report will be used to educate parents and providers on the health impacts of synthetic drugs, which are made to mimic the effects of controlled substances while avoiding regulation under the Controlled Substances Act.
H.R. 5009 would require the development of best practices for including opioid use disorder in a patient’s medical record, upon their request. The bill is named after Jessie Grubb, who was recovering from substance use disorder when a provider prescribed an opioid that led to her death in 2016. This bill would lower the risk of providers prescribing an opioid medication to patients with a history of opioid use disorder.
The House also passed several other measures that Shea-Porter supports. New Hampshire is struggling from a lack of mental health providers who can treat substance use disorder. H.R. 5102, the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act, would create a student loan repayment program to for health professionals that choose to work in the treatment and recovery fields in areas that have few mental health providers or a high rate of death from drug overdoses. H.R. 4684, the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act of 2017, would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to spend $3 million a year develop and publish best practices for operating recovery housing programs.