Higgins Announces Approval of Bipartisan Legislative Package Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) has announced passage in the House of Representative of a package of bills addressing the nation’s Opioid crisis. H.R. 6, The Support for Patients and Communities Act, was sent to the Senate with a vote of 393 in favor and 8 against. It is expected to pass in the Senate.
The package addresses issues related to treatment, health coverage, research, peer mentoring, and more. It also expands access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) to assist those working towards recovery by making it easier for doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to get the training they need to be able to prescribe addiction treatment medications. Another provision allows these medical providers to see more patients in treatment for substance use disorder.
Included in the legislation is a bipartisan bill that Congressman Higgins introduced along with Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri, The Perioperative Reduction of Opioids Act, or PRO Act. The bill provides hospitals and prescribers with best practice guidance by empaneling a group of technical experts to research and provide recommendations on reducing Opioid use in the surgical setting and in pain management following surgery.
Upon passage of H.R. 6, Congressman Higgins said, “The Opioid crisis took a record 72,000 American lives last year. It has affected communities big and small all over the country, and Western New York has been no exception. The legislation passed today is a key step in providing necessary relief and assistance, but our work is not done. Keeping up the fight is imperative in addressing this crisis, and as it evolves, Congress and other stakeholders should continue seeking effective solutions.”
Programs in this bill seek to support the comprehensive and coordinated work of groups like the Opiate Epidemic Task Force, created by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, where progress has been made to develop strategies and effective responses to confront this crisis.
H.R. 6 also includes significant boost for peer mentors like those at Western New York’s own Save the Michaels of the World by establishing a National Peer-Run Training and Technical Assistance Center for Addiction Recovery Support to provide technical assistance to peer support groups related to substance use disorder.
Text of the Opioid legislation can be read here.