Collins Applauds Passage of More Than 50 Bills Combating the Opioid Epidemic
Written by WBTA STAFF on June 26, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen Chris Collins (NY-27) applauded the House passage of a package of bills that take action to fight the opioid epidemic, including the passage of H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. The SUPPORT Act includes dozens of bills that passed the House over the past two weeks, in addition to the base text which includes provisions that previously passed the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees.
“Throughout the past two weeks, the House has been devoted to the thousands of Americans struggling with addiction, their families, and our communities in our work to end this deadly crisis,” said Collins. “Serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee, we have put an enormous amount of time and effort into studying addiction, listening to struggling families, reviewing the supply chain, and immersing ourselves into the communities that have been ravaged by this crisis. It was a heart-wrenching process, but we came up with common-sense, bipartisan solutions that will save lives.”
The opioid epidemic is claiming more than 115 lives each day, destroying families in communities across the nation. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Collins helped craft a legislative package that would address the many issues that have led to this crisis and would implement solutions to end this epidemic.
Starting in October 2017, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee pursued an aggressive timeline to produce this legislation prior to Memorial Day. In May, 57 bills were advanced to the House of Representatives which have passed the House throughout the past two weeks. Collins worked with colleagues across-the-aisle to co-author several pieces of legislation.
Collins joined fellow New Yorker, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries in introducing the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2017 that would require the Surgeon General to report to Congress the public health effects of the rise of synthetic drug use by 12 to 18-year-olds. Currently, Congress does not have sufficient information to craft the unique types of public health and law enforcement approaches that could save our nation’s children from these dangerous substances.
Collins also introduced the Eliminating Opioid Related Infectious Diseases Act of 2018 with Congressman Leonard Lance, Congressman Joseph Kennedy, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congressman Joe Barton, and Congresswoman Doris Matsui that focuses specifically on how the opioid epidemic has contributed to an increase in infectious diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. Increased monitoring and education will lead to a better understanding of the impacts that this crisis is having on public health.
Building on the efforts of the Medicaid DRUG Improvement Act, Collins introduced an amendment with Congressman Scott Peters and Congressman Peter Welch that would require states to identify and address inappropriate prescribing and billing practices under Medicaid. States are currently authorized to implement prescription drug monitoring activities through their prescription drug monitoring programs and claims data, but not all states have adopted such activities.
In addition to working with the Energy and Commerce Committee, Collins worked with the Committee on Ways and Means and Congressman Tom MacArthur on introducing the Stop Excessive Narcotics in Our Retirement (SENIOR) Communities Protection Act. The SENIOR Communities Protection Act allows Medicare Advantage Part D plans to suspend payments to a provider or supplier pending an investigation of a credible allegation of fraud or abuse, as determined by the Inspector General. This legislation will help in preventing future “pill mills” from occurring.
Finally, Collins introduced legislation with Congressman Eric Paulson, Congressman Ron Kind, and Congressman Connor Lamb that would require Medicare to send an annual notice to Part D patients about the adverse effects associated with prolonged opioid use. By improving awareness and education, the Medicare Clear Health Options in Care for Enrollees (CHOICE) Act will help patients be more inclined to watch for the warning signs of addiction and be more informed to talk with their doctors on their options for pain management.
Collins added: “In every community across our nation we have brokenhearted families, which is why we need immediate action. I’m thankful for President Trump’s dedication to this issue and urge the Senate to get these important bills on his desk.”
For more information on legislation to combat the opioid crisis, click here.