September 17, 2018


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) secured a provision, in the opioid package that passed the Senate today, that will continue to ensure that West Virginia will receive more funding to fight the opioid epidemic. When originally passed, the funding that states receive to fight the opioid epidemic was based heavily on the number of overdose deaths rather than the rate of overdose deaths. Unfortunately, this disproportionally hurt states like West Virginia, which has a small population but has the highest need. Senator Manchin fought during the Appropriations process and in this bill to ensure that states that have been hit the hardest by the opioid epidemic receive more funding.

“West Virginia has the highest overdose rate per capita of any state in our nation and the impacts of this epidemic can be felt in every family, every community and every corner of our state. I am pleased to have secured a continued set aside for states like West Virginia where mortality rates are through the roof. This language more than tripled the amount of funding coming to our state, and I will continue to fight to ensure West Virginia is getting our fair share of funding to fight this epidemic,” Senator Manchin said.

Before the vote, Senator Manchin spoke on the Senate Floor, urging his colleagues to include the Legacy Act in the opioid package, which would improve health care coordination for people in recovery and help prevent overdose deaths.  To watch his floor speech click here.

Senator Manchin worked to include the following provisions in the Opioid Crisis Response Act:

  • Opioid Funding for hard hit states: Reauthorizes and makes improvements to the State Targeted Opioid Response (STR) program to help states better fight the opioid epidemic, including updates to the formula.
  • Improving communication and information sharing between medical professionals and patients: Includes language to better facilitate quality coordinated care for individuals with a history of substance use disorder treatment, but does not go far enough.
  • Improving Access to Treatment and Recovery: The bill establishes a grant program to create comprehensive opioid recovery centers in hard hit communities.
  • Improving FDA Response to the Opioid Crisis: Strengthens the FDA’s response to the crisis in several ways including by supporting the development of non-opioid pain treatments and by pushing the agency to do more to consider the risks of drugs that may be misused or abused. 
  • Examining Opioid Prescription Limits: Requires the Secretary of HHS to issue a report on limiting opioid prescriptions.
  • Improving Youth Prevention and Recovery Services: Includes grant funding to strengthen youth prevention and recovery services, particularly in schools.
  • Consumer and Provider Education: Advance awareness of the risks of opioid misuse and abuse by strengthening CDC’s efforts to educate consumers and providers.
  • Trauma-Informed Care for Youth: Includes funding to support programs that offer trauma-informed care for youth. Due to Senator Manchin’s efforts, the bill will specifically allow funding to go to programs like West Virginia’s Handle with Care program, which helps connect students who have been involved in traumatic events in the home, particularly related to substance use, to trauma informed care in the schools.
  • Improving Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: Encourages providers to use PDMPs and improving interoperability between PDMPs and health IT systems.
  • Improving NIH’s Response: Encouraging research into non-addictive pain-killers, pain care, and signs/risk factors of substance use disorders.  
    • Improving Coordination between FDA & CBP: Improving FDA’s tools for working with CBP to improve the detection and seizure of illegal drugs, including fentanyl.
    • Expands access to medication assisted treatment: Allows a wider array of medical professionals to prescribe MAT and codifies the higher number of patients that can be served by an individual doctor. Also provides funding to educate medical professionals on prescribing MAT.
    • Protecting people seeking treatment: clarifies the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to bring enforcement actions against opioid treatment scams, including deceptive treatment claims and bogus products.
    • Support for communities and workers hit by the epidemic: Provides resources to communities and workers to provide treatment services and job training/transition services for those in recovery.
    • Improves Medicare and Medicaid policy to address the epidemic: Strengthens efforts to promote treatment and reduce opioid abuse among Medicare beneficiaries.
    • Support for babies with NAS: It clarifies that Medicaid can paid for babies with neo-natal abstinence syndrome in residential pediatric recovery centers.
    • Reauthorizes critical drug prevention programs including: ONDCP, the Drug-Free Communities grant program, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, and the drug court program.
    • Reforms DEA Quotas: Requires DEA to consider diversion, abuse, overdose deaths and public health impacts when setting quotas and requires them to justify any quota increase.
    •  Provider education: Requires HHS and DOJ to complete a plan for educating and training medical practitioners on prescribing controlled substances.
    • DEA enforcement: Requires the pharma industry to design systems to identify and report suspicious orders and requires DEA to establish a database for the collection of all suspicious orders.