The House is set to vote on more than two dozen bills next week aimed at fighting the opioid crisis, including policy changes to educate pharmacists, coordinate a national response and empowering the federal government to create a program to test alternative treatments.
The House will vote individually on dozens of bills over the weeks of June 11 and June 18, a Republican aide on the House committee on Energy and Commerce told CNN. It's the latest effort to tackle the crisis following the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act, as well as the $4 billion appropriated in the omnibus this year.
While the final details are still being worked out, the House will combine most of the bills into a more streamlined package before sending it over to the Senate for consideration, the aide said.
The bills include bipartisan proposals that would:
- Require federal agencies to develop and distribute materials that would better educate pharmacists on when they should decline to fill out a prescription related to opioids;
- Direct the Department of Health and Human Services to create a publicly accessible online collection of nationwide efforts and strategies to combat opioid crisis;
- Direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to publish and share best practices for operating places for recovering addicts to stay;
- Provide the National Institutes of Health with the authority to research non-addictive pain medications;
- Ensure medical professionals have access to a consenting patient's complete health history when making treatment decisions;
- Allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to create a program that would test alternative pain-treating options to limit the use of opioids in emergency departments.
"Just as this isn't our first legislative foray to fight this scourge, it certainly won't be our last," House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess, both of whom are Republicans, said in a statement to CNN. "We've heard from our constituents loud and clear as this crisis has continued to evolve, and will soon advance solutions that can provide real help to our friends, family, and neighbors."
This news comes after the Trump administration on Thursday announced a new, multimillion dollar public awareness advertisement campaign aimed at curbing opioid addiction among young people. The crisis kills 116 people a day, the White House has said.
The first four ads of the campaign are all based on true stories illustrating the extreme lengths young adults have gone to get a hold of Oxycodone and Vicodin.