Latta: E&C Committee Providing Real Solutions to the Opioid Crisis
Over the past two weeks, the Energy and Commerce Committee has passed nearly sixty bills to combat the opioid crisis including legislation authored by Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green), the INFO Act. That legislation was passed by the committee last week and would improve the availability of information on the epidemic for state and local governments, health care providers, law enforcement, and advocates. In addition, Latta supported all of the other pieces of legislation passed by the committee. Those bills improve access to treatment, increase utilization of alternative pain management tools, and stop the importation of illicit drugs.
“With deaths from opioids continuing to rise, there is an urgent need to implement policies that provide real solutions to this epidemic,” said Latta. “I’ve joined my colleagues in passing nearly sixty bills out of committee — including legislation I've authored — and we should move quickly to vote on them on the House floor. Ohio has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, and these policies have the opportunity to turn this devastating trend around.”
A breakdown of all of the legislation passed by the committee can be found here. A few of the bills approved by the committee today are:
H.R. 5580 – STOP Fentanyl Deaths Act – Authorizes grants to Federal, state, and local agencies for the establishment or operation of public health laboratories to detect fentanyl, its analogues, and other synthetic opioids.
H.R. 5603 – Access to Telehealth Services for Opioid Use Disorder – Instructs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to evaluate the utilization of telehealth services in treating substance use disorder.
H.R. 5809 – Postoperative Opioid Prevention Act – Creates a pass through payment to encourage the development of non-opioid drugs for post-surgical pain management in Medicare.
H.R. 5752 – Stop Illicit Drug Importation Act – Streamlines and enhances the Food and Drug Administration’s tools to intercept illegal products.
In 2016, 4,050 Ohio residents died of unintentional drug overdoses, the highest in the nation and a 32% increase over 2015. Overdose deaths are skyrocketing with 5,232 lives lost in a 12-month period between July 2016 and June 2017 – a 39 percent increase from the previous year and three times the national average. More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids. That number nearly doubled over the past decade, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.