WASHINGTON, DC – Over the last three days, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) has helped pass 18 pieces of legislation to fight the tide of opioid abuse that is hurting families in San Diego and across the country. These bills take a comprehensive approach ranging from tightened procedures for prescribing painkillers and expanded treatment for addicts, to increased availability of medications that could reduce overdose deaths.
This progress in DC comes on the heels of Rep. Peters helping Walgreens launch a new effort in San Diego: prescription drug drop-off centers where people can safely dispose of unused prescription drugs to keep them out of the wrong hands.
“I have friends who have lost loved ones to prescription drug abuse; it’s heartbreaking for these families,” Rep. Peters said. “With a broken Congress that refuses to work together on many critical issues, this is one that brought us together. Opioid abuse has taken and hurt too many lives. Today Congress took dramatic steps to fix this awful problem.”
Rep. Peters continued, “While the opioid problem is widespread, it has hurt different communities in different ways. The legislation passed this week gives the power, resources and flexibility to local governments and law enforcement to tackle it in ways best suited to their communities. This will make a real difference for cities like San Diego and the San Diego Police Department who are fighting this epidemic.”
Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is expected to combine the 18 pieces of legislation into one in order to enter negotiations with the Senate on a final version to send to the President’s desk for his signature.
Among the bills passed by the House this week to address opioid and prescription drug abuse are the following:
- The Interagency Pain Management Prescription Improvement Act, which creates a federal task force made up of agency officials, medical professionals, and researchers to review and modify best practices for treating pain.
- The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act, which creates a comprehensive opioid abuse reduction program at the Department of Justice to direct federal resources to tackle opioid abuse. This will give states and localities funding and flexibility to address abuse issues unique to their communities.
- The Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, which directs the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration (VA) to update opioid therapy clinical guidelines and requires the VA to track data on opioid use by veterans.
- The OPEN Act, which requires the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to collect and publicly share information about the effectiveness of opioid-related programs to share best practices.
- The Co-prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act, which encourages and trains healthcare providers to prescribe overdose reversal drugs, such as Naloxone, when they prescribe opioids.
- Lali’s Law, which would authorize grants for states to develop standing orders for Naloxone prescriptions and train healthcare professionals on the use of overdose reversal drugs.
- The Good Samaritan Assessment Act, which requires to Government Accountability Office to study state and local Good Samaritan laws, such as those in California, that protect those who administer overdose reversal drugs from criminal liability.
Congressman Peters serves the 52nd District of California which covers much of central San Diego County including Poway, Coronado, and large portions of the City of San Diego. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Judiciary Committee. The Congressman is a former environmental attorney, City Council President, and Port Commission Chairman.