Washington, D.C. – Today, July 8th, 2016, the legislative item to authorize the Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to address the national epidemics of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use, and to provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes (S. 524) passed through the United States House of Representatives. The passage occurred by way of House Resolution 809 with a vote of 407 Yeas, 5 Nays. Twenty-one Representatives did not vote on the Bill.
This piece of Legislation was championed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island), and serves as a re-authorization and amendment of a number of articles to appropriate funds under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) to accomplish the following:
- Adjustments to existing authorizations and programs to provide needed funding to support community-based addiction treatment;
- Expansion of prevention and educational efforts–particularly aimed at teens, aging populations and parents and other caretakers–to prevent the use of heroin and misuse of prescription opioids;
- Promotion of treatment and recovery in general;
- Establishment inter-agency pain management best practices task force;
- Provisions of grant funding for the treatment of pregnant and postpartum women;
- Improvement of first responder training for the administration of opioid overdose reversal;
- Provisions alternatives to incarceration through treatment;
- Enhancement of investigation activities to combat the unlawful distribution of opioids;
- Improvement of prescription drug monitoring programs;
- Development and enhancement of prescription drug take-back activities; and the
- Formulation of comprehensive opioid abuse response plans.
Click HERE for the full summary of the House and Senate versions of the Bill
(Summary information provided courtesy of the National Council for Behavioral Health, Congressional Research Service by way of Erin Bagalman and Lisa N. Sacco, and Congress.gov).
All Representatives from Georgia voted Yea on S. 524.
Below contains the list of the Georgia Representatives and their corresponding Congressional Districts that the Association would like to thank for voting to pass such an important Bill for the Country:
Buddy Carter (District 1)
Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (District 2)
Lynn Westmoreland (District 3)
Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (District 4)
John Lewis (District 5)
Tom Price (District 6)
Robert Woodall (District 7)
Austin Scott (District 8)
Doug Collins (District 9)
Jody Hice (District 10)
Barry Loudermilk (District 11)
Rick Allen (District 12)
David Scott (District 13)
Tom Graves (District 14)
We urge that you send a note of appreciation to your Representatives for their attention to this particular appropriation. To do so, you can locate the Representative from your District, and click on their name. The link will take you to their contact authentication page in which you will have to enter your zip code. From there, you will be able to reach out and extend a brief message thanking them for the wonderful work they are doing in Washington to provide support for those battling opioid addiction and their families, as well as alleviate the burden of this epidemic on American Society.
Not sure which District you are located? Click HERE and select the “Map of Congressional Districts” tab to locate your District!
Association Executive Director, Robyn Garrett and Health Policy Associate, Josiah Conrad, along with Jennifer Hibbard, Tammy Conlin, Keith Ellis (Newton County Commissioner) and Dr. Doreen Williams (Rockdale County Commissioner) of View Point Health, Dr. Tom Ford of Lookout Mountain and Kevin Hines and Joe Williams of 17th and Montgomery attended the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Hill Day in June. During their time in Washington, D.C., the group was able to meet with a number of Georgia Congressional Leaders and their staff members to advocate for a number of articles of legislation, including S. 524. The pieces of proposed legislation could enable GACSB member organizations to better support those in their communities with mental illness and/or substance use disorders.