Press Releases

Kuster, Fitzpatrick Lead Bipartisan Opioid Task Force Roundtable Discussion on Using Technology to Prevent Addiction and Promote Patient Safety

Washington, DC, September 24, 2020

Today, Bipartisan Opioid Task Force co-chairs Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) led a roundtable conversation with members of the Task Force and experts on drug abuse prevention to discuss efforts to use technology to prevent addiction and promote patient safety. 

The Task Force was joined by Jeffrey R. Wahl, Co-Founder & President of MIDAS Healthcare Solutions; Stephen C. Mullenix, R.Ph., Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations, National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP); Rachel Uzlik, Vice President of Clinic Services, Twin Cities Orthopedics, and George Blike, M.D., Chief Quality and Value Officer, Dartmouth Hitchcock.

The group discussed ways technology is employed to prevent physical dependence, addiction, misuse, and diversion of opioids. In addition, the group talked about the impact of COVID-19 on the opioid and addiction epidemic. The pandemic has forced locations across the country to cancel the DEA’s Drug Takeback Day, and there has been resulting confusion around how to properly dispose of unused opioid medication. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult for those who are struggling with substance misuse and addiction, and technology has become more critical than ever as a tool to help prevent addiction and keep people safe,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I was proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to alert dispensers in real-time when a patient is at risk for abuse or harm by using existing prescription and dispensing data to review patient prescription history, including fill attempts. This is just one of the many ways technology can aid us in our fight to curb the opioid crisis. It was great to hear from today’s experts about how else technology can be used for this important purpose, and I look forward to our continued work together to support those with addiction and prevent substance misuse.” 

“Today was a great opportunity to hear from experts on what they have been working on to combat the opioid epidemic. New, innovative, and groundbreaking advances are being made every day, and I am incredibly proud to be a Co-Chair of this Task Force,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “We must take advantage of all technology at our disposal to help those struggling with addiction and substance use disorder. Together, we will beat this epidemic.”

“We’ve seen a spike in fatal overdoses in western Maryland since the pandemic set in,” said Congressman Trone. “It’s critical that we think creatively and use every resource available to us, including new tools and technologies, to prevent substance use disorders. I thank Congresswoman Kuster and Congressman Fitzpatrick for their leadership in the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force and for hosting this gathering of experts.”

Kuster and Fitzpatrick were joined by Representatives Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Steve Chabot (OH-01), Brad Schneider (IL-10), David Trone (MD-06), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Grace Meng (NY-06), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Bradley Schneider (IL-10), Lois Frankel (FL-12), Karen Bass (CA-37), Vicky Hartzler (MO-04), Bill Johnson (OH-06), and Bob Gibbs (OH-07). 

Today’s roundtable discussion can be viewed here.

###