Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) sent a letter to the Chairman of Senate Committee on Judiciary Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and all members of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) Conference Committee to urge them to include in the final compromise bill legislation that will fight the opioid epidemic on all fronts.
Senator Manchin said in part: “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we lost 18,893 people in 2014 to a prescription opioid overdose and 10,574 people to a heroin overdose. Since 1999, we’ve lost almost 200,000 Americans to prescription opioid abuse. As Members of Congress, it is our duty to do everything in our power to stop this deadly epidemic. That is why I urge you, as a conferee on the conference committee for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), to support the strongest possible bill and consider additional legislation to prevent and treat prescription opioid and heroin addiction.”
Below is a full list of legislation Senator Manchin urged the conferees to include in the final compromise bill:
• The Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act – LifeBOAT (S. 2977) – This bill would establish a permanent funding stream to expand access to addiction treatment facilities by requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay a $0.01 fee per milligram of opioids. The bill includes a discount or rebate for opioids prescribed to cancer and hospice patients and an exemption for opioids used in medication assisted treatment.
• Jessie’s Law (S. 2866) – This bipartisan legislation protects those recovering from addiction by ensuring that medical professionals have access to information about a patient’s addiction if the patient consents. It was inspired by the tragic death of Jessie Grubb, who overdosed when she was sent home with 50 oxycodone after a surgery despite making it very clear to her attending physicians that she was a recovering heroin addict.
• The Changing the Culture of the FDA Act (S. 2543) – This bill amends the FDA’s mission statement to include the agency’s responsibility for addressing the public health impact of the opioid epidemic.
• Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (S. 1431/H.R. 4697) – This bipartisan bill would improve education about opioid abuse for consumers and physicians and provide assistance to states and the federal government to reduce opioid abuse, diversion, and deaths.
• FDA Accountability for Public Safety Act (S. 954) – This bipartisan bill would require the FDA to seek the advice of its experts on the advisory committee when the FDA considers new, dangerous opioid medications.
• Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing Act (S. 2758/H.R. 4499) – This bill, which I introduced with Senator Johnson, would eliminate a perverse incentive that physicians have to prescribe unnecessary opioid medications.