Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Hartzler: Opioid epidemic affects us all

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) released the following statement as the House passed a series of bills to address the troubling opioid epidemic sweeping the nation:

“This is an epidemic that affects us all. So I am glad to see these bills pass with such strong bipartisan support. In Missouri, the scourge of drug abuse is a growing problem, and it will take all of us to help solve it. I have heard too many stories of families torn apart and livelihoods in tatters. We need to stop this scourge now. I have been working in my district on a ‘Drug Free Missouri Future’ initiative, and these measures are a vital extension of the work many of us in Congress are doing at the local level. I gladly support these bills and am eager to see them passed into law.”

The House on Tuesday and Wednesday passed a series of bills, a number of which Hartzler co-sponsored, that range from addressing opioid addiction amongst our veterans, to babies infected with this disease, to the current pain management best practices, and much more. A list of Hartzler co-sponsored bills can be found below.

Later in the week, the House will also be voting on the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act (CARA) of 2016, establishing a streamlined, comprehensive opioid abuse grant program that encompasses a variety of new and existing programs, such as vital training and resources for first responders and law enforcement, criminal investigations for the unlawful distribution of opioids, drug courts, and residential substance abuse treatment.

Hartzler Co-Sponsored Bills to Tackle the Opioid Crisis

H.R. 4063 – Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act – improves VA opioid safety measures by directing all department hospitals to designate pain management teams, ensuring employees that prescribe opioid drugs receive proper training in pain management and safe opioid prescribing practices, and standardizing safe opioid utilization and tracking practices across the system.

H.R. 4978 – NAS Healthy Babies Act - expands our knowledge of care of Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) babies, including the prevalence of NAS in the United States, the number of NAS babies covered by Medicaid, the settings for care for NAS babies, and access to care for NAS babies under state Medicaid programs.

H.R. 4969 – John Thomas Decker Act of 2016 - requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study what information and resources are available to youth athletes and their families regarding the dangers of opioid use and abuse, non-opioid treatment options, and how to seek addiction treatment. The CDC is then to work with stakeholder groups to get these resources into the hands of students and parents.

H.R. 4599 – Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016 - ensures care providers have sufficient resources, information and support when prescribing opioids for pain; establishes comprehensive state-based resources for prescribers to consult when helping patients manage pain and identifying signs of substance use disorders.

In October of last year, Hartzler launched her anti-drug initiative, “A Drug Free Missouri Future” to raise awareness of the drug problem and spur action to combat substance abuse and addiction by bringing together law enforcement, parents, school officials, community leaders, and citizens.

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