Walorski: We Are Taking Action to Fight Opioid Abuse

Friday, June 15, 2018

Walorski: We Are Taking Action to Fight Opioid Abuse

House Passes Dozens of Bills to Address Epidemic; Will Consider Walorski’s Legislation Named for Dr. Todd Graham

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded the passage of dozens of bills in the House aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic through prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement efforts.

Next week, the House will consider legislation Walorski introduced to improve access to non-opioid pain treatments. The bill is named for Dr. Todd Graham, the South Bend doctor who was shot to death after refusing to write a prescription for opioid painkillers.

“Opioid abuse is a crisis that affects every community in America, and we are taking action to help fight this epidemic,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These commonsense solutions will help prevent opioid abuse, treat addiction, and support recovery so people can rebuild their lives. I look forward to continuing our work next week, when the House will consider my bipartisan legislation, named in honor of Dr. Todd Graham, that aims to fight the opioid crisis by expanding access to non-addictive alternatives to treat pain.”

BACKGROUND

The House this week passed more than two dozen bills to prevent opioid abuse, support addiction treatment and recovery, and combat the shipment and sale of illegal drugs. The measures approved by the House include legislation to:

  • Crack down on the shipment of illicit synthetic opioids into the U.S. from overseas (H.R. 5788 – Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act);
  • Prevent drug traffickers from circumventing the law by creating chemically-altered synthetic drugs (H.R. 2851 – Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act);
  • Support transitional housing for individuals recovering from opioid addiction (H.R. 5735 – THRIVE Act);
  • Help veterans access treatment for mental health or substance abuse issues (H.R. 2147 – Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act);
  • Expand peer-to-peer counseling for women veterans (H.R. 4635);
  • Encourage innovative research into non-addictive pain medications (H.R. 5002 – ACE Research Act); and
  • Reduce the number of unused prescription drugs at risk of misuse (H.R. 5041 – Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act).

Next week, the House will consider additional legislation to combat the opioid epidemic, including a bill Walorski introduced to expand access to non-opioid alternatives for pain treatment. The Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act (H.R. 6110) aims to reduce overprescribing of opioids by examining ways to expand the use of non-opioid alternatives in Medicare

H.R. 6110 is an updated version of legislation introduced by Walorski and recently approved by the Ways and Means Committee. Among other provisions, it would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments. HHS would solicit stakeholder feedback, conduct a study, and submit recommendations to Congress improving payment, coverage, and coding policies related to the use of multi-disciplinary, evidence-based non-opioid treatments for acute and chronic pain management for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Part A or B. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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