Senate passes Opioid Crisis Response Act

In 2016, more than 63,600 people died from an overdose in the United States, and 42,249 of those deaths involved an opioid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Monday, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a sweeping legislative package of bills aimed at combating the nation’s opioid crisis.

Theodore M. Mazer, President of the California Medical Association, joined Lauren Phinney and Logan Byrnes in studio to talk about the Opioid Crisis Response Act.

The U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan package of over 70 proposals intended to help combat the nation’s opioid crisis. Known as the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, the package includes legislation intended to reduce opioid use, encourage recovery, support caregivers and families, and drive innovation and long-term solutions.

The California Medical Association (CMA) is working with AMA and other partners to resolve several outstanding issues, such as the mandate to e-prescribe opioids, despite the difficult DEA process. The CMA has successfully stopped all proposals that interfere with the practice of medicine, including opioid prescription duration and dosage limits.

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it will head to a House-Senate conference committee where lawmakers will need to resolve the many significant differences between the Senate opioid package and that passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this summer. The conference committee is not expected to complete their work until after the midterm elections.

The issue of opioid-related misuse, abuse and overdose remains a major policy issue at the federal, state, and regional levels. CMA will continue to advocate to increase access and availability of medication-assisted treatment, opioid use disorder treatment programs, and non-opioid therapies, including mental health services and fight proposals that interfere with the practice of medicine and create barriers to care.

CMA supports a well-balanced approach to opioid prescribing and treatment that considers the unique needs of individual patients. CMA’s safe prescribing resource page includes the most current information and resources on prescribing controlled substances safely and effectively to relieve pain, while simultaneously reducing the risk of prescription medication misuse, addiction and overdose.

Related: Opioid epidemic declared public health emergency

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