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Congress considers bill to address opioid epidemic

5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has introduced the Prevent Drug Addiction Act of 2016 in response to the opioid and heroin epidemic gripping communities throughout Connecticut and the nation.


The Senate is voting this week on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, a bill cosponsored by Esty that addresses drug addiction by providing badly needed resources for treatment and recovery programs. 


The Prevent Act complements that effort by focusing resources on addiction prevention strategies including a consumer education campaign, training for medical practitioners on best practices when prescribing opioids, and a new management program specifically for Medicare beneficiaries who are at risk of prescription-drug addiction.

Esty serves in Congress on the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic.


She says confronting opioid addiction means ensuring families have access to the treatment services they need to recover and move forward. But Esty says treating this epidemic isn’t enough, prevention from becoming addicted in the first place needs to be addressed.


Specifically, the Prevent Act would:


Help states and non-profits conduct culturally sensitive consumer education about opioid addiction, with priority given to communities with high incidence of addiction and addiction-related deaths;


Strengthen training requirements for medical practitioners eligible to prescribe opioids or participate in opioid treatment programs to include additional training on pain management treatment guidelines, early detection of opioid addiction, and the treatment of opioid-dependent patients;


Require opioid treatment programs to make acceptable arrangements for patients to receive needed medications on days when the program is closed for business to reduce the risk of relapse for patients in recovery;


Strengthen opioid overdose and mortality reporting requirements and create a National Opioid Death Registry housed in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);


Require HHS to establish and disseminate prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment quality measures for all relevant health care provider settings; and


Create a new drug management program under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to prevent high-risk Medicare beneficiaries from becoming addicted to prescription drugs.

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Dave Ramsey

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