Walorski Supports Comprehensive Anti-Opioid Legislation

Monday, July 11, 2016

Walorski Supports Comprehensive Anti-Opioid Legislation

Served on Conference Committee That Negotiated Final Agreement, Which Includes Walorski Provisions to Protect Veterans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today voted for bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to address the nationwide opioid epidemic and protect veterans from overprescription of powerful opiates.

“Dozens of Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, and this has to stop,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “There is a long battle ahead of us. A lot of damage has already been done. But this bill represents an important step forward as we seek to stop overprescription and end opioid addiction in our country.”

The final version of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524), which passed the House by a vote of 407 to 5, included two measures authored by Walorski to protect veterans. One provision would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to participate in state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), and the other would allow the VA to use FDA-approved medical devices and other non-opioid therapies to treat chronic pain.

Walorski, a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee who served on the conference committee that completed negotiations this week on final legislation, spoke on the House floor today in support of the bill.

Video of Walorski’s remarks is available here. The full text is below.

“I rise today in strong support of S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

“This vital bill will help address the prescription drug epidemic we’ve seen plague our communities for too long.

“Dozens of Americans die each day from prescription drug overdoses. This has to stop.

“It’s time for us to come together as a nation to tackle this issues that has infected every fabric of our society.  

“I am honored to have served on the conference committee for this bill and thankful it is being considered by the House today.

“As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have seen the opioid epidemic’s effects on our nation’s veterans.

“Veterans are more vulnerable to chronic pain and more susceptible to addiction, but some VA facilities still overprescribe these powerful drugs.

“I’ve seen the problem first hand with veterans coming into my office, often carrying a large bag or box of pills.

“In my home state of Indiana, the DEA raided the VA Medical Center in Marion after noticing many narcotics and opiates purchased by the facility.

“For too long, the VA has relied too heavily on opioids to treat chronic pain.

“This bill addresses that by requiring the VA and DOD to focus on improving their prescribing practices.

“It includes my legislation requiring the VA to report to state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, which are important and effective tools for stopping overprescription.

“And it allows the VA to consider non-opioid treatments for veterans with chronic pain.

“Mr. Chairman, there is a long battle ahead of us.

“A lot of damage has already been done.

“But this bill represents an important step forward as we seek to stop overprescription and end opioid addiction in our country.

“I urge my colleagues to support the bill and I yield back my time.”

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

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