March 02, 2016
Senate Begins Consideration of Bipartisan Opioid Abuse Legislation
The Senate has begun consideration of S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), bipartisan legislation to address the opioid abuse epidemic. Introduced by Senators Whitehouse (D-RI) and Portman (R-OH), CARA establishes a Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force to develop best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication and authorizes several grant programs to expand prevention, education, and treatment efforts. The Senate is also considering amendments to the bill, and may vote on CARA as early as this week.
ASA, in concert with key stakeholders, is leading efforts to reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs. Recent efforts include partnering with the American Medical Association on the Task Force to Reduce Prescription Opioid Abuse; providing formal recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on their 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain; collaborating with physician and pharmacy organizations to develop a consensus document highlighting red flag warning signs for physicians and pharmacists in the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances; collaborating with the Pain Care Coalition to issue formal letters of support for the reauthorization of the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (H.R. 1725), a federal bill that would provide support to states for their prescription drug monitoring programs; and testifying before the Food and Drug Administration in support of expanding access to naloxone.
ASA will continue to closely monitor this legislation.