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Jaime Herrera Beutler Works to Combat Opioid Epidemic in Southwest Washington

Jaime helps U.S. House embark on most comprehensive federal legislation to date addressing opioid epidemic

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Washington, D.C. , June 22, 2018 | comments
U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler helped the U.S. House pass the most comprehensive package of federal legislation to combat the opioid epidemic to date. Over the last two weeks, the U.S. House passed 57 bills to curb the rising tide of prescription drug abuse and deaths in Southwest Washington and across the country.
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U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler helped the U.S. House pass the most comprehensive package of federal legislation to combat the opioid epidemic to date. Over the last two weeks, the U.S. House passed 57 bills to curb the rising tide of prescription drug abuse and deaths in Southwest Washington and across the country. 

These new legislative efforts supported by Jaime will combat the opioid crisis through prevention; substance abuse addiction recovery and treatment; research on new, non-addictive pain medicine; and empowerment of local pharmacies. This package of bills will also enforce crackdown on fentanyl and other illegal drug transport and will enhance safe disposal and drug take-back efforts in Washington.

“We are facing a crisis that has pervaded nearly every community across our nation. More than 1,100 Washingtonians died of an opioid overdose in 2016. It’s disturbing to see these numbers steadily increase and continue to hear the heartbreaking stories of those who have suffered or lost their lives,” Jaime said. “Over these last two weeks, I’ve worked with my colleagues in the U.S. House to combat the opioid epidemic by putting resources where they will have the greatest positive impact: into our communities that are fighting this crisis every day. 

“This package of bills to address opioids will go a long way toward protecting Southwest Washington’s vulnerable populations by improving the security and management of pain pills, supporting treatment for recovering addicts, and aggressively working to research non-addictive medications for patients who suffer from chronic pain.” 

The full list of bills passed by the House is available here. Below are some highlights:

• The Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act: Helps reduce the number of unused controlled substances at risk of getting into the wrong hands or being misused by allowing hospice employees to safely dispose of unused pills. 

• The Poison Center Network Enhancement Act of 2018: Reauthorizes Poison Control Centers which offer free, confidential, and expert medical advice around the clock. Often times these programs serve as the first line of defense in providing expert medical consultation on poisoning and drug overdoses to people in crisis. In 2016, more than 1.5 million calls managed by Poison Centers involved opioids and medications. 
o The Washington Poison Center has taken leadership in medication take-back efforts by collaborating with local partners to establish medication take-back kiosks in high needs areas. 

• The Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act: Helps pharmacists detect fraudulent prescriptions; empowers pharmacists to decline to fill controlled substances when they suspect prescriptions are forged or appear to be for abuse or diversion.

• The ACE Research Act: Provides the National Institutes of Health with authority to conduct innovative research and spur urgently-needed research on new, non-addictive pain medications.

• The Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act: Enables medical professionals to access patient information relating to substance use disorders so health care providers can better care for patients struggling with addiction.

• The Opioid Screening and Chronic Pain Management Alternatives for Seniors Act: Adds a review of current opioid prescriptions and, as appropriate, a screening for opioid use disorder as part of the Welcome to Medicare initial exam.

• The Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act of 2017: Authorizes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop, publish, and disseminate best practices for operating recovery housing that promotes a safe environment for sustained recovery from substance use disorder.
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