September 10, 2018
ASA and Partners Applaud Senate for Imminent Action on Opioids
After several weeks of negotiations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate has reached an agreement on a bipartisan package to address the opioid crisis and will vote this week. Ahead of this announcement, ASA, with partners of the Pain Care Coalition (PCC)— the American Academy of Pain Medicine and the American Pain Society— sent aformal communication to Senate leadership outlining PCC priorities and expressing thanks. This was in response the release of a redline draft of the House-passed opioids legislation, H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which includes several provisions supported by ASA. Thereafter, the Senate released the legislation, with minor adjustments, titled the Opioid Crisis Response Act (“OCRA”).
The PCC is pleased to see a number of key provisions supported by the organizations included in OCRA. ASA is especially pleased to see bills that members advocated for at LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE 2018, where more than 600 members convened on Capitol Hill. These include:
• The Perioperative Reduction of Opioids (PRO) Act: directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the development of initiatives that reduce opioid use in the surgical setting and the development of best practices for pain management, specifically during the perioperative period.
• Section 403 of the Opioid Crisis Response Act: provides grant funding for best practices on the use of alternatives to opioids.
Other ASA-supported proposals included in OCRA encompass provisions to speed NIH research, support Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), a study around prescribing limits and grants for drug take-back programs.
The Senate is expected to take-up OCRA this week and could consider amendments as part of the debate. They will then send their legislation back to the House and the House can choose to accept the bill in that form, or the two chambers may conference to negotiate and reconcile any differences. ASA will continue to monitor any developments.
Read a summary of the Senate package here.