Dingell Supports Bipartisan Package to Address Opioid Epidemic
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today voted for the House amendment to S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, a bipartisan package of bills aimed at preventing and treating opioid addiction. The opioid epidemic is taking a toll on communities across the country with 78 Americans dying every day from an opioid overdose. The legislation passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 400 to 5, and will now be considered by a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate bills.
“The devastating impact of prescription drugs on families is something I’ve been aware of all my life,” said Dingell. “As a child, I watched my father suffer from opioid addiction, and years later, lost my sister to a drug overdose. There is no question this crisis must be addressed, and I’m pleased that today, the House took the first step to bring hope to those suffering from addiction and their families. As we continue working to ensure young people can receive the help and support they need, and that all ages are educated about the dangers of addiction, it is important that we do not stigmatize those with very real medical needs. We must ensure the pendulum does not swing too far in one direction, and that we create a climate where patients and families can seek help and get answers. Today’s vote is a step in the right direction, and as we move to conference with the Senate, I hope negotiators will act to provide the resources needed to implement the positive actions we’ve taken today.”
The House amendment to S. 524 creates a new grant program, the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Grant Program, which provides new opportunities for state and local agencies to address the epidemic through a competitive grant program that can be used for a number of different public health purposes. For example, grantees can use funds to purchase opioid reversal drugs, implement or improve prescription drug monitoring programs, and implement programs to prevent juvenile opioid abuse, among other things. The bill also establishes a new task force with federal agencies, physicians, hospitals, addiction treatment advocates, and other stakeholders to develop best practices for pain management policies.