June 12, 2018 | Policy Update
National Addiction Policy Update June 2018
WASHINGTON D.C. UPDATE
This week the full House will begin considering over 20 bills to address the opioid epidemic. Consideration of these bills is expected to continue throughout the month.
Bills in consideration include: policy changes to educate pharmacists, creation of a national program to test alternative pain management treatments, development of best practices for addiction treatment and recovery housing, and greater sharing of patient history information upon consent. It is expected that the majority of the individual bills will be combined into a single streamlined package before being sent to the Senate.
On Friday, the House Rules Committee, which is the last stop before bills go to the Floor, scheduled a markup of the first 3 bills:
- Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments Demonstration Program Act (H.R. 5735 )
- Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act of 2017 (H.R. 2851)
- Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act of 2018 (H.R. 5788)
Senate Judiciary Committee
The Committee approved an additional bill, the Preventing Drug Diversion Act (S. 2837) to address the opioid epidemic. The Committee previously considered a handful of bills before the Memorial Day break.
Senate Finance Committee
The committee noticed a markup for the Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorder Act. In a press release announcing the markup, the Committee said the bill would:
- Ensure Medicare and Medicaid provide beneficiaries better education, prevention, management and treatment options for pain and addiction;
- Support states in developing effective family-focused treatment options and help reunite parents with children more quickly if they must be placed in foster care;
- Increase Medicare beneficiary awareness of non-opioid alternative treatments, increase treatment for substance use disorder and improve tracking of opioid prescriptions under Medicare Part D; and
- Expand and clarify Medicaid’s options for treating beneficiaries suffering from addiction and improve data used to evaluate approaches that address opioid use.
As we have previously reported, once the Committees finish their work, the Senate may take up a package of bills. It is not yet confirmed whether such consideration may take place this summer or possibly not until after the November elections.
On June 8th, the Administration announced the release of ads intended to promote awareness among young people about the dangers of opioids. The ads, which depict real life stories and are intended to have shock value, were created by the Truth Initiative, which produced the “Truth Campaign” anti-smoking ads. Facebook, Amazon, Turner, NBC and Google are among those donating ad time, which the Ad Council said is estimated to be the equivalent of $30 million
This Policy Update was generously provided by Holly Strain & Carol McDaid of Capitol Decisions