U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauds the Senate passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (CARA), bipartisan legislation that will combat the opioid epidemic nationwide, but believes more needs to be done.
“The Senate’s passage of CARA is a good first step in our fight to end the opioid epidemic, but more needs to be done,” Senator Manchin said. “I am glad that my consumer education amendment to ensure that advocacy groups have access to funds they need to raise awareness about the risks of opioid addiction and overdose was included in the final bill. Unfortunately, that is just one step in the fight to stem this epidemic. We need to fight this epidemic on all fronts. I introduced four other amendments that would have strengthened the bill further to ensure it was truly comprehensive. I will continue to fight for my other measures that will put real resources behind this fight to end the opioid epidemic because this fight is one we must win.”
Below is a full list of the amendments Senator Manchin introduced:
• Mandatory Prescriber Education – Requires medical practitioners to receive training on the safe prescribing of opioids prior to receiving and renewing their DEA registration to prescribe controlled substances. The training must be approved by the Secretary of HHS and include information on safe opioid prescribing guidelines, the risks of over-prescribing opioid medications, pain management, early detection of opioid addiction, and the treatment of opioid-dependent patients.
• Consumer Education – This amendment, which was included in the final bill, will strengthen efforts to raise awareness about opioid abuse by including consumer education and requiring that awareness campaigns address the dangers of opioid abuse and addiction and provide information about how to prevent opioid abuse and the detection of the early warning signs of addiction.
• Changing the Culture of the FDA Act – This amendment would amend the FDA’s mission statement to include language that would require the agency to take into account the public health impact of the nation’s opioid epidemic when approving and regulating opioid medications.
• FDA Accountability for Public Safety Act – This amendment would require the FDA to seek the advice of its advisory committee before approving any new opioid medication. If the FDA approved the drug against the advice of the advisory committee, the agency would be required to submit a report to Congress justifying the decision. The approval is delayed until this report is submitted.
• Raising funding for substance abuse treatment – Establish a 1 cent fee on each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription pain pill to be paid by the manufacturer or importer. The funds raised would be used to pay for efforts to provide and/or expand access to substance abuse treatment and would be distributed as part of the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. There is a rebate for opioids prescribed for cancer related pain and hospice patients and an exemption for opioids used as part of medically assisted treatment.