WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Bost is cosponsoring a package of bipartisan bills to help stem the tide of the opioid crisis that is devastating parts of Southern Illinois and elsewhere.
The legislation includes measures that would crack down on synthetic drug trafficking and bolster drug prevention, treatment and recovery efforts.
“Southern Illinois and our nation face a crisis that is ravaging our communities,” said Bost. “Addiction doesn’t care about your race, religion, politics, or how much money you make. It is relentless and nobody can beat it alone. Fighting back against this addiction crisis requires a multi-faceted bipartisan approach. We must find a balance between stopping the flow of drugs into our communities while showing compassion for those suffering with substance abuse.”
Among the legislative measures Rep. Bost announced his support for are:
The Stop Counterfeit Drugs by Regulating and Enhancing Enforcement Now (SCREEN) Act (H.R. 5228)
• Provides the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with stronger recall and seizure authority to disrupt the entry of counterfeit and illicit drugs through International Mail Facilities (IMFs).
The Stop Illicit Drug Importation Act (H.R. 5752)
• Streamlines and enhances FDA’s tools to intercept illegal products.
• Illicit or unapproved drugs enter the U.S. supply chain through IMFs and pose serious public health threats to individuals across the country
The Securing Opioids and Unused Narcotics with Deliberate (SOUND) Disposal and Packaging Act (H.R. 5687)
• Directs the FDA to work with manufacturers to establish programs for efficient return or destruction of unused Schedule II or III opioids. These methods could include mail-back pouches to secure facilities for incineration, or methods to immediately inactivate/render unattractive unused drugs;
• Facilitates utilization of packaging that will help reduce diversion, overprescribing, or abuse of Schedule II or III opioids; and
• Requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study new and innovative technologies that claim to be able to safely dispose of opioids and other unused medications.
Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act (H.R. 4275)
• Helps pharmacists detect fraudulent prescriptions.
• Facilitates development and dissemination of materials giving pharmacists greater understanding and ability to decline to fill controlled substances when they suspect the prescriptions are fraudulent, forged, or appear to be for abuse or diversion.
Access to Telehealth Services for Opioid Use Disorder (H.R. 5603)
• Instructs CMS to evaluate the utilization of telehealth services in treating substance use disorder.
According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in December 2016, “the ongoing epidemic of opioid deaths requires intense attention and action. In a November 2016 report, the Drug Enforcement Administration referred to prescription drugs, heroin, and Fentanyl as the most significant drug-related threats to the United States.” From 2014 to 2015, the death rate from synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes Fentanyl, increased by 72.2 percent, and heroin death rates increased by 20.6 percent. Rates of death involving heroin and synthetic opioids other than methadone increased across all demographic groups, regions, and in numerous states. There is an urgent need for a multifaceted, collaborative public health and law enforcement approach to the opioid epidemic, including expanding Naloxone distribution, among other recommendations.