May 13, 2016
House Passes Package of Opioid Bills: Package includes ASA Endorsed Bills
On May 12, the House of Representatives passed a final package of bipartisan bills, including bills endorsed by ASA, aimed at addressing the prescription opioid abuse epidemic. After three days of votes on more than 15 bills and about two dozen amendments, the package was offered in the nature of a substitute to S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016, which the Senate passed in March.
Three ASA-supported bills that expand access to naloxone and allow patients to partially fill prescriptions for controlled substances— H.R. 3680, the Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2015; H.R. 4586, Lali’s Law; and H.R. 4599, the Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016—were included in the package that passed the House. ASA previously submitted comments to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, noting that naloxone should be made more accessible to people who might witness an opioid overdose, including first responders, family members and caregivers of high-risk individuals, in order to reduce the incidence of opioid overdose fatalities.
Also included in the final House resolution was H.R. 1725, the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act (NASPER), an ASA-endorsed bill that authorizes a public health grant program to support state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and to promote interstate “interoperability” among PDMPs.
Other bills in the package aim to provide more flexibility to states through grant programs for substance abuse treatment, prevention, and law enforcement programs. ASA commends the House’s efforts to identify solutions to the prescription opioid abuse epidemic.
Next, the House and the Senate will begin working through differences in the Senate’s original CARA bill (S.524) and the House’s new version.
The House measure, H. RES. 725, passed on a vote of 400-5— See how your Representative voted here.