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Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

House Committees Approve Opioid Legislation

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On Wednesday, two House committees overwhelmingly passed a number of opioid-related bills, setting the stage for time on the House floor this May. The two committees – the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee – are the lead committees of jurisdiction on measures related to curbing the nation’s opioid epidemic. House leadership has made clear its plans to combine these separate initiatives into one bill that will ultimately resemble the Senate-approved Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

The bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee include:

  • Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act (H.R. 5046) would authorize the Attorney General to make grants to help states and local governments address the national epidemic of opioid abuse.
  • Opioid Program Evaluation (OPEN) Act (H.R. 5052) would direct the Attorney General and HHS Secretary to evaluate the effectiveness of grant programs whose primary purpose is providing assistance in addressing problems pertaining to opioid abuse.

The bills approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee include:

  • The National Council supported Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act (H.R. 4981) which increases prescriber patient limits while also allowing for qualified professionals such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners to use buprenorphine as part of their treatment regimen.
  • The National Council supported Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act (H.R. 3691) would reauthorize residential treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum women and establish a new pilot program to promote innovative service delivery models for such women.
  • The National Council supported Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act (H.R. 3680) would allow for HHS to carry out a grant program for co-prescribing opioid overdose reversal drugs such as naloxone.
  • Lali’s Law Act (H.R. 4586) would authorize grants for developing standing orders and educating healthcare professionals on the dispensing of opioid overdose reversal medications.
  • The Reducing Unused Medications Act (H.R. 4599) would allow prescriptions for certain controlled substances to be partially filled.
  • The Opioid Review Modernization Act (H.R. 4976) would require the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to seek recommendations from a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee before approving certain opioid drugs without abuse-deterrent properties.
  • The Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act (H.R. 4982) would direct the Comptroller General of the United States to produce a report on the inpatient and outpatient treatment capacity of American medical facilities.
  • The NAS Healthy Babies Act (H.R. 4978) would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to submit a report on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and its treatment under Medicaid.

As a reminder to Capitol Connector readers, should comprehensive legislation be approved by the House, any remaining differences between that and the Senate-passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act would then be worked out by a conference committee made up of members of both the House and Senate. If and when that is completed, CARA would head the White House for review and approval by the President.