Obama Signs Opioid Bill into Law
On July 22, 2016 President Barrack Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act into law. The comprehensive package came together in early July following a House and Senate conference committee meeting which was chaired by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman, Fred Upton (R-MI). The conference filed a report on July 6, 2016 and the House approved the language on July 8, 2016 by an overwhelming vote of 407 – 5.
“In the face of a surging crisis, we came together and got the job done,” said Chairman Upton. “We have a thoughtful solution that attacks the opioid epidemic from all sides – one that zeros in on treatment for addiction and overdoses, reforms prescribing practices, and works with law enforcement. For folks suffering in Michigan and across America who are desperate for relief, help is on the way.”
Chairman Upton, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) issued the following statement on the House-Senate deal:
“Americans are suffering, overdoses are surging across the country at an alarming rate, and communities are being torn apart. This epidemic deserves immediate attention. Working together, we’ve got a thoughtful and substantial solution, one that has already achieved near unanimous support in both the House and Senate, and will help every single community. We are proud to welcome the support of 200 advocacy groups on the frontlines of the recovery effort. It’s time to come together, put politics aside, and get the job done. We’ve got an epidemic on our hands, and we are very close to delivering immediate help.”
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act is the compilation of many different pieces of legislation that were considered in both the House and the Senate. Among other things, the legislation requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to convene a task force to review differences in chronic and acute pain management, provides for community-based coalition enhancement grants to address local drug crises, codifies a grant program at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to expand access to overdose reversal drugs, allows HHS to provide grants to communities for treatment and recovery centers, and reauthorizes the NASPER program and provides grants to states to establish, implement, and improve state-based prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).
A detailed summary of the legislation can be found here.
Obama described the package as “modest” and expressed his disappointment that the package did not contain new funding, but said given the scope of the opioid epidemic “some action is better than none.”
“I’m going to continue fighting to secure the funding families desperately need. In recent days the law enforcement community, advocates, physicians, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle have also joined this call,” Obama said in a statement. “Now it’s time for Republicans to finish the job and provide adequate funding to deal with this public health crisis.”