Senators: Repeal Law That Impedes DEA’s Ability to Crack Down on Opioid Distribution

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Two Democratic senators have introduced legislation that would repeal a law they say hampers efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to fight the opioid epidemic. According to a report by The Washington Post and 60 Minutes , the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act impeded the DEA’s authority to freeze suspicious shipments of opioids in order to reduce the flow of painkillers to the black market. CNN reports Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia have called for the repeal of the legislation, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2016. The law passed by unanimous consent in the Senate. “Media reports indicate that this law has significantly affected the government’s ability to crack down on opioid distributors that are failing to meet their obligations and endangering our communities,” McCaskill said in a statement. “I’ll be introducing legislation that repeals...
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House Passes 10 Bills Aimed at Combating Addiction to Opioids

House Passes 10 Bills Aimed at Combating Addiction to Opioids
The U.S. House recently passed 10 bills designed to fight opioid addiction. They are part of a package of 18 bills expected to be approved, USA Today reports. One of the bills would authorize the creation of an interagency task force that would review, modify and update best practices for prescribing opioids. Members of the task force would include representatives of federal agencies, pain advocacy groups and mental and behavioral health providers. Another bill would require states that receive federal grants for child protective services to have laws or programs to ensure babies born to mothers addicted to opioids will be cared for safely when they leave the hospital. Legislators is considering more bills, the article notes. Democrats offered an amendment to provide $600 million in emergency funding for the opioid bills. Republicans blocked the bill, saying funding will come when Congress passes its 2017 spending bills for federal agencies....
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U.S. House Task Force Introduces Bills to Fight Opioid Addiction

U.S. House Task Force Introduces Bills to Fight Opioid Addiction
A bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives presented 15 bills aimed at fighting opioid addiction, according to The Hill. The legislation introduced by the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic includes $85 million in local grants, as well as $10 million for prescription drug monitoring programs. It also includes legislation that would reform opioid prescription practices, increase access to the opioid overdose medication naloxone, and update Veterans Administration pain treatment procedures. In March, the U.S. Senate voted 94-1 to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The measure authorizes funds for various drug treatment and prevention programs for a wide range of people, including those in jail. CARA expands prescription drug take-back programs and establishes monitoring to prevent over-prescribing of opioid painkillers. It expands the availability of medication-assisted treatment, including in criminal justice settings, and supports treatment as an alternative to incarceration. The...
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Senate Passes CARA!

Senate Passes CARA!
Today the Senate passed the Comprehensive Addictions and Recovery Act (S.524). The legislation, known as CARA, passed with an overwhelming bi-partisan vote of 94-1 in the first stand-alone bill to pass the Senate in years. The legislation authorizes much-needed funding for evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery programs to help Americans struggling with addiction to heroin or other opioids, and now moves on to the House for its consideration. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) praises the Senate for its approval of CARA, and we thank Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator Rob Portman, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator Patrick Leahy for helping to advance this important legislation. CARA authorizes $600 million for grants to address the national prescription, opioid and heroin addiction epidemics. Authorized funds could be used for treatment and recovery services, alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders, law enforcement initiatives and...
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