Donovan, House Pass Package of Bills to Stymy Opioid Epidemic
Washington, DC—May 12, 2016....Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a package of 18 bills taking aim at the opioid epidemic that has claimed lives from every reach of Staten Island and South Brooklyn. For Donovan, this week’s action is a continuation of years of work, first as District Attorney and now as Congressman. The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act, part of the suite of bills passed this week, authorizes grant funding for local governments and non-profit providers to improve substance abuse education, treatment, and enforcement. Donovan successfully offered an amendment to direct grants to treatment providers to assist pregnant women struggling with addiction.
Congressman Donovan said, “Any solution requires a three-pronged approach – education, treatment, and enforcement. Today’s youth have to be educated about the dangers of addiction; local treatment experts who have been in the trenches for years need resources to expand capacity, because nobody who is ready for treatment should be denied a bed; and law enforcement needs tools to choke off the supply. The package passed today hits all three.”
He continued, “Family health and safety has long been a priority of mine, even before Congress. I’m so proud to have a role in directing resources to our most vulnerable population: children in the womb and their mothers trying to fight addiction.”
The other 17 bills provide a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s opioid policies. H.R. 4641, for example, establishes an inter-agency task force to modify best practices for pain medication prescriptions. Another, H.R. 4063, the Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, targets treatment for veterans addicted to opioids. Those who made unimaginable sacrifices to defend our freedom should get help from their country when they need it most. The full list of bills passed this week is copied below.
Nationwide, the number of heroin-related deaths has quadrupled since 2002. In New York City, nearly 797 people died from unintentional overdoses in 2014, with 57 percent of them involving heroin. This year, more Staten Islanders have died from overdoses than from car crashes and homicides combined.
Since taking office, Donovan has made his district’s substance abuse crisis a main priority. He worked with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to bring Interconnect – a prescription data-sharing network that allows pharmacists to check whether a script has been filled in other participating states – to New York. With Donovan’s support, Congress increased funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant program by $38.2 million, bringing the total to $1.78 billion. Congress also allocated funding to help equip first responders with life-saving overdose medications. In February, Donovan stood with local elected officials and treatment providers to call for a comprehensive Congressional response to the substance abuse crisis.
The House and Senate will enter a conference committee to resolve differences before sending the bill to the President’s desk.
Full List of Bills
H.R. 4063 – Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act
H.R. 4985 – Kingpin Designation Improvement Act of 2016
S. 32 – Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015
H.R. 5048 – Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016
H.R. 5052 – OPEN Act
H.R. 4843 – Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act
H.R. 4978 – NAS Healthy Babies Act
H.R. 3680 – Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2016
H.R. 3691 – Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act of 2016
H.R. 1818 – Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2016
H.R. 4969 – John Thomas Decker Act of 2016
H.R. 4586 – Lali’s Law
H.R. 4599 – Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016
H.R. 4976 – Opioid Review Modernization Act of 2016
H.R. 4982 – Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016
H.R. 4981 – Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act
H.R. 4641 – To provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes
H.R. 5046 – Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016