(Washington, D.C.) Today the House of Representatives passed the Conference Report to S.524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, through a vote of 407 - 5. The Conference Report is the result of negotiations between the House and the Senate on their respective opioid packages, which were passed earlier this year.  Following passage of this agreement, Representative Charlie Dent (PA-15) released the following statement:

 “I applaud today’s broad bipartisan support to advance a comprehensive action plan to address the national opioid epidemic that has tragically and personally affected families here in Pennsylvania and beyond.  The legislation passed today provides an approach that incorporates the combination of education, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement tools necessary to help those currently suffering from addiction and curb the spread of this national emergency.

 This quickly-accelerating crisis has indiscriminately touched communities all across the country, and the statistics are staggering.  According to the CDC, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 percent since 2000, including a 200 percent increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids. During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, with more than 28,000 deaths involving some type of opioid, including heroin.

 To counter this troubling trend, this legislation will expand treatment and recovery options for individuals with an opioid use disorder.  It will provide states with the resources to treat individuals with an opioid disorder through grant programs at Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to increase access to treatments.  Additionally, the legislation provides targeted addiction and treatment services for victims with unique needs, such as pregnant women and veterans.  It will also provide law enforcement with greater access to opioid reversal drugs to improve the odds of saving lives in first-responder situations.

 I’m proud to support the passage of this bipartisan achievement, and look forward to it being into law as soon as possible.”

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Bill Highlights:

* Codifies an existing grant program to support states in expanding access to addiction treatment services

* Requires HHS to create a task force on pain management

* Creates a Department of Justice grant program for opioid addiction and abuse

* Expands access to medication-assisted treatment by authorizing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine

* Requires a report be issued on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)

* Supports increased purchase and distribution of opioid overdose reversal drugs, and training for first responders

* Reauthorizes a grant program to provide residential treatment for pregnant and postpartum women with an opioid disorder

* Strengthens protections for infants born with substance exposure by clarifying the intent of safe care plans, and requires HHS to share best practices for developing plans to keep infants and their caregivers safe and healthy

* Establishes a “lock-in” program to prevent fraud and abuse of prescription medications

* Allows HHS to establish grants for community organizations to address the opioid and heroin crisis

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Contact Emily Rauch (202) 225-6411