House Passes Walorski Legislation to Prevent Veteran Opioid Abuse

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Walorski’s Provision Requires VA to Report Opioid Prescriptions to State Drug Databases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today applauded passage of legislation to prevent the over-prescription of opioids to veterans that often leads to prescription drug abuse. Congresswoman Walorski’s provision, which would require all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities to participate in their respective state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), was included in H.R. 4063, the Jason Simcakoski Promoting Responsible Opioid Management and Incorporating Scientific Expertise (PROMISE) Act, which passed the House unanimously.

“Indiana is in the midst of a prescription drug abuse epidemic, and our veterans are among the most at-risk,” said Walorski, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “I’m glad my legislation passed the House unanimously, and I urge the Senate to pass it right away. VA facilities should follow the same rules as all other doctors and pharmacists to prevent veterans from abusing prescription drugs.”

Currently, VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) may participate in their respective state’s PDMP but are not required by law to do so. In December, Walorski introduced legislation that would change that option to a requirement in response to a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation into potential opioid overprescription at the VAMC in Marion, Ind. In February, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously approved that legislation and included it in H.R. 4063, the Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act.

In Walorski’s home state of Indiana, the statewide database known as INSPECT collects data on prescription drugs dispensed in the state. It requires other doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to check patient records in the database before prescribing painkillers, with pharmacists responsible for recording related prescriptions they fill. In March, the Indiana Governor’s office announced a partnership to begin VA participation in INSPECT, starting at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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