Kuster Pushes Legislation to Prevent Veteran Opioid Addiction at White River Junction VA Medical Center
White River Junction, VT – Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) today met with administrators, medical professionals, and veterans from White River Junction VA Medical Center to discuss her legislation to ensure veterans’ pain is treated safely and effectively and that opioid addiction is being addressed within the veterans community. The Helping Our Veterans With Chronic Pain and Opioid Addiction Act, would establish a minimum of five pilot programs that would facilitate the coordination of care and case management to veterans in need of chronic pain management, including veterans suffering from opioid dependency.
The bill is modeled partially after the work of Dr. Julie Franklin at White River VAMC, and would create a pilot program to examine pain management practices and develop new techniques in five states.
“Many of our men and women in uniform suffer from chronic pain when they return home from their service, which puts them at risk of becoming addicted to opioid pain medications,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “The work being done at White River Junction VA Medical Center to use alternative treatment methods to deal with chronic pain should serve as an example around the country. My legislation would help to expand on the good work being done at White River Junction and help to address the treatment of chronic pain and the risk of addiction for veterans.”
As a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, Congresswoman Kuster has been steadfast in her efforts to address the heroin and opioid crisis and to ensure that veterans have the assistance they need to deal with the pain they face responsibly. Kuster’s bill would also require all VA healthcare facilities, Vet Centers, and other VA facilities to carry naloxone or other medication for reversal of opioid overdose. The VA would be required to ensure all VA employees are trained to use the medication.