A Federal Opioid Bill Due Soon

Federal legislation to combat opioid use disorder is moving along fairly quickly and may be ready by the end of September.

Last week the U.S. Senate voted 99-1 to support H.R. 6 – the House opioid legislation as amended by the Senate. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) was the only No vote. A conference committee is now resolving differences between the two bills.

Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) had two of his priorities included in the Senate bill. The first authorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand its efforts to counter the spread of infectious disease (such as HIV of hepatitis C) caused by injection drug use. The second initiative requires the federal government to benchmark and measure its progress in combatting opioid use disorder.

In other opioid news, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a report showing that opioid-related hospital stays and emergency department visits for patients 65 and older increased 54% and 100%, respectively, between 2010 and 2015.