Washington, D.C. — The Senate is expected to consider a House and Senate reconciled bill to address the opioid abuse epidemic in the coming days. The final bill, which includes several of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly’s provisions, would confront this public health crisis by giving states and communities tools to prevent and treat drug addiction and support individuals in recovery.
Donnelly spoke on the Senate floor yesterday about the need to pass this bipartisan legislation and sign it into law.
Donnelly said, “We have a chance to do something meaningful and bipartisan that would help address the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics and save lives. For every family and community in Indiana and across the nation that has been devastated by these epidemics, we must send this legislation to the President. It is also critically important we fund these initiatives. This compromise opioid bill is an important step, but make no mistake: there is work left to do to ensure that our communities have the resources to implement many of these important programs.”
The final opioid legislation includes provisions adopted from Donnelly’s bipartisan legislation focused on developing best prescribing practices and raising public awareness, as well as a bipartisan provision he authored that would encourage first responder units to connect individuals who receive naloxone with treatment or other necessary services.
For more than two years, Donnelly has been working to address the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics in Indiana and across the country. He has listened to Hoosiers, introduced bipartisan legislation, partnered with federal, state, and local officials, and brought together stakeholders. He also worked with Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN). After Donnelly introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) in June 2014 that would take a multi-pronged approach to addressing these epidemics, including to update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, Brooks helped introduce similar legislation in the House. Donnelly and Brooks have held two roundtables on the opioid abuse epidemic: the first, with federal, state, and local public health officials, doctors, and pharmacists to discuss the role providers paly in helping to address the opioid abuse problem; the second, with Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) doctors, professors, faculty and medical residents, to learn more about IUSM’s efforts to educate and train medical students, residents, and current physicians on best prescribing practices, pain management, substance abuse, and treating addiction.
To see Senator Donnelly speak about CARA, click here.