U.S. Senate Passes Opioid Crisis Response Act
In the midst of Beth Macy’s national book tour for her latest release, “Dopesick” – a New York Times Best Seller that paints a picture of America’s 20 year struggle with opioid distribution and addiction – the United States government is making strides in working to find a solution at the national level. In early September, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) released statistics on drug overdose deaths from March 2017 to March 2018. The data showed a whopping 71,000 deaths related to drug overdoses in that 12 month period with 1,417 reported in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Last Monday, the U.S. Senate passed the Opioid Response Crisis Act with a 99-1 vote. This comprehensive bipartisan bill is aimed at empowering the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies with the funding to address the opioid epidemic.
An Overview of the Opioid Response Crisis Act
The Senate’s summary of the bill states the goal of the bill is to:
“Improve the ability of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, as well as the Departments of Education and Labor, to address the crisis, including the ripple effects of the crisis on children, families, and communities, help states implement updates to their plans of safe care, and improve data sharing between states.”
The bill will provide a $4.7 billion plan to empower the above mentioned agencies to increase their current efforts to fight the crisis as well as new incentives to further the cause. The funding will support the following causes for various agencies:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) to increase research focusing on pain management including prevention and treatment.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address the challenges of creating new pathways to pain management that remove the use of addictive medications, regulate opioid packaging, improve drug disposal systems, and improve border control operations to fight the illegal international drug trade.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop comprehensive opioid recovery centers, address recovery housing best practices, examine the possible effectiveness of opioid prescription limits, increase first responder training for overdoses, and coordinate youth prevention programs and continuation of care for overdose patients, and more.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish evidence based prevention programs, collect more controlled substance data, increase awareness of the risk of misuse and abuse of opioids, further understand infections associated with drug injections, and how the epidemic affects infants and children.
Additional programs funded by this act will focus on strengthening the power of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to regulate and enforce the use, misuse, and disposal of opioids, improve data collection and analyzation capabilities to track progress, and provide support to the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) for education and prevention. While the bill has passed the Senate, it will still need to be reconciled with a House bill that was passed in June. Lawmakers in Congress feel confident that the legislation can be passed with a version that pleases both the House and the Senate.
How Chiropractic Can Play A Role
As many studies by the National Institutes of Health and other research projects have shown, chiropractic plays an important role in pain management that avoids the use of opioid and other invasive methods that still require the temporary use of pain medications. National chiropractic associations like the American Chiropractic Association have been working hard to communicate and collaborate with lawmakers and healthcare providers to be a part of the solution. As doctors who are able to heal with natural, non-invasive methods, it’s important for use to share our expertise and push for access to individuals who need our help. As partners in health, we pledge to continue to find opportunities to share our message and provide the best care possibles to those in need. To read more on our position in how chiropractors can help the opioid crisis, check out our piece on the importance of collaboration across industries: Progress For the Opioid Epidemic Will Come From Progressive Care.
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