Leading the News

Lawmakers unveil legislation to fight opioid epidemic

The Washington Times (2/27, Howell) reports “a bipartisan crop of senators on Tuesday unveiled a sequel to landmark 2016 legislation that targeted the opioids crisis, saying Congress should make sure a brand-new batch of federal dollars are directed toward programs that work.” The “Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act 2.0” would “impose a three-day limit on initial fills of opioid pills for acute pain, with exceptions for people with chronic pain and lengthy illnesses.” The Times notes that Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, and Anne Schuchat, MD, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will attend a US Chamber of Commerce summit Thursday exploring ways to combat the opioid epidemic.

        The Hill (2/27, Roubein) reports the bipartisan CARA 2.0 includes measures “beefing up services to promote recovery and aiming to increase the availability of treatment.” Of the bill’s $1 billion in additional funding, “$300 million would increase training for first responders and their access to an opioid overdose reversal drug” and another “$300 million would expand medication-assisted treatment.”

        Congressional Quarterly (2/27, McIntire, Subscription Publication) reports the bill would authorize “$200 million for a national infrastructure to help individuals move from treatment to long-term recovery,” and $100 million “for treatment for pregnant and postpartum women as well as $60 million for states to develop plans to help babies who are born addicted to opioids.”

        DOJ announces task force to target opioid manufacturers, distributors The Washington Post (2/27, Bernstein, Zezima, Horwitz) reports Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced the “creation of a new task force focused specifically on targeting opioid manufacturers and distributors,” as the Justice Department “filed a statement of interest in a case involving hundreds of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors.” The Post reports Sessions said DOJ “will argue that the federal government has borne substantial costs from the opioid epidemic and it seeks reimbursement.”

        For more information about how to help reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic, visit the AMA’s microsite, End the Opioid Epidemic.