Kuster Statement on Signing of Comprehensive Opioid Legislation
(Concord, NH) – Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin and Opioid Task Force, released the following statement on President Trump signing bipartisan, bicameral, and comprehensive opioid legislation into law. The legislation is the result of reconciliation between the House version of the bill, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), and the Senate version, the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 (S.2680), both of which were passed earlier this year. Both bills were passed with bipartisan support, with 396 members voting in favor in the House and 99 in the Senate.
“I’m thrilled my colleagues and I were able to come together to send the President this much-needed and commonsense legislation,” said Kuster. “In addition to reauthorizing the critical Office of National Drug Control Policy, which I fought for, this legislation also includes The STOP Fentanyl Deaths Act, a bill I introduced to help public health laboratories better detect synthetic opioids like fentanyl and alert public health officials and law enforcement. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this legislation will have on the lives of Granite Staters and their communities, and I remain committed to working with Democrats and Republicans to further strengthen our nation’s response to the opioid epidemic.”
Kuster was a co-sponsor of six additional pieces of legislation that were signed into law today by the President, including the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act, the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act, the Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act, and the Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act.
Additionally, seven policies included within the Task Force’s legislative agenda were signed into law today by the President:
- Jessie’s Law—Legislation that is intended to help doctors access a consenting patient’s prior history of addiction to make better clinical decisions when providing treatment and other health care.
- Synthetic Drug Awareness Act—Legislation that would require a landmark study on the public health effects of the rise in synthetic drug use, like fentanyl, among adolescents.
- Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act—Legislation that would require all Medicare Part D prescriptions to be transmitted electronically. This better helps address doctor shopping, forged prescriptions, and theft.
- Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies (CRIB) Act—Legislation that would create pediatric care centers within Medicaid to treat babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
- Addiction Treatment Access and Improvement Act—Legislation that would improve availability of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by allowing physicians to treat up to 275 patients, permanently authorize physician assistants and nurse practitioners to provide buprenorphine and allow all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to provide MAT.
- Medicaid IMD Exclusion—Allows states to use Medicaid to pay for short-term treatment in facilities containing more than 16 beds.
- Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) – Improves policies and resources for state PDMPs to ensure more responsible and safe opioid prescribing.
Kuster has pushed for increased funding for New Hampshire to address the opioid epidemic and helped announce $22.9 million in additional funding for the state. Earlier this year, Kuster introduced the Respond NOW Act, which would provide critical resources to those on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. The Bipartisan Heroin and Opioid Task Force has been a driver of Congressional action to take on the opioid crisis. In addition to the polices included in the comprehensive opioid package, the Task Force successfully passed the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act, the INTERDICT Act, and most recently, the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act. The Task Force also successfully pushed for the inclusion of $1 billion in funding as part of the 21st Century Cures Act to address the opioid epidemic and helped advance $6 billion in new opioid funding as part of the FY 2018 government funding bill. Last Congress, 14 Task Force bills were signed into law as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).