Sending Office: Honorable Vern Buchanan
Support Increased Prevention, Treatment & Law Enforcement Tools
Endorsed by: American College of Emergency Physicians, National Board for Certified Counselors, American Mental Health Counselors Association, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, and Centerstone
Please join us in cosponsoring H.R. 5531, the Opioid Emergency Response Act, bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid epidemic through greater research and prevention efforts, expanded access to treatment for those in recovery and better screening
to catch illegal drugs before they enter the country.
As you know, the opioid epidemic is devastating families across the country and has quickly become the worst drug crisis our country has ever seen. In 2016, a staggering 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, including 42,000 from opioids alone.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. Life expectancy is projected to decrease for the third straight year — an alarming phenomenon not seen since the deadly Spanish flu 100 years ago.
The Opioid Emergency Response Act draws on some of the best bipartisan ideas already introduced in Congress and adds an innovative new plan incentivizing the use of alternatives to addictive prescription opioids. Specifically, the
Opioid Emergency Response Act includes:
- The Alternatives to Opioids Prescribing Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Buchanan to reduce opioid use among Medicare patients in hospital emergency rooms by incentivizing alternatives such as a high-dose combination of Tylenol and Advil, which studies
have shown could achieve the same pain–reducing result as low-dose opioids.
- A version of H.R. 4733, the Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act, introduced by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) that will provide additional resources to NIH to research pain, addiction, and non-opioid treatments for these medical conditions.
- An extension of the grants created in the 21st Century Cures Act that will provide significant opportunities for states to improve access to treatment, support people in recovery, and prevent overdoses.
- H.R. 3032, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act, introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY) that will expand seniors’ access to treatment by allowing new types of providers to join Medicare.
- S. 372, the STOP Act, introduced by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) that will help stem the flow of dangerous drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil by requiring more intensive screening at U.S. Postal Service facilities.
- H.R. 2851, the SITSA Act, introduced by Rep. John Katko (R-NY) that will make it easier to outlaw deadly synthetic drugs and properly sentence convicted dealers.
- S. 788, the Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act, introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that will require the VA to study the link between prescription opioids and an alarmingly high rate of suicides among veterans.
Together, this comprehensive package will give our medical professionals, researchers and law enforcement officers the tools they need to combat the opioid crisis from all angles.
We hope you will join us in this critically important effort. For more information, please contact Jordan Heyman (Buchanan) at
Jordan.Heyman@mail.house.gov or x55015 or Dao Nguyen (Murphy) at
Dao.Nguyen@mail.house.gov or x54035.
Vern Buchanan Stephanie Murphy
Member of Congress Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0