The Washington Examiner: Senate reaches deal on more than 70 bills to combat opioid epidemic

Posted on September 6, 2018

The Washington Examiner: Senate reaches deal on more than 70 bills to combat opioid epidemic

By Robert King

September 6, 2018

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/healthcare/senate-reaches-deal-on-more-than-70-bills-to-combat-opioid-epidemic

 

The Senate will vote next week on a raft of more than 70 proposals to combat the opioid crisis, including a bill to address shipments of illicit fentanyl from overseas.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act is the Senate response to a collection of more than 50 opioid-related bills that passed the House in June. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said late Thursday that there is “bipartisan urgency to work with our House colleagues to get the legislation to the President’s desk.”

The legislation includes the Synthetic Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act that aims to give the U.S. Postal Service more tools to flag suspicious shipments of illicit fentanyl from overseas. Overdoses from fentanyl represent more than half of the roughly 42,000 people who died of an opioid overdose in 2016, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Alexander said in a statement that the legislation also includes new authority for the Food and Drug Administration to install new requirements for the packaging of opioids. Under the proposal, the FDA could require prescription opioids to be packaged in set amounts like a three- or seven-day supply of blister packs, he said.

The package also “provides to advance cutting-edge research to spur discovery and development of new non-addictive painkillers,” a release on the bill said.