July 13, 2016

Manchin Applauds Passage of Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the bicameral compromise reached to enact the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (CARA), which is now on its way to the President’s desk. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will help combat the opioid epidemic nationwide, but it lacks the robust funding that is so desperately needed to support these critical programs and treatment centers. 

“The passage of CARA is a solid start in launching a broad effort to combat our nation’s opioid epidemic, but we must put real resources behind the programs that CARA authorizes in order for them to be effective,” Senator Manchin said. “The federal government’s approach to this tragic trend needs to be comprehensive, which includes funding for programs and treatment centers across the country. I have introduced legislation, the LifeBOAT Act, that would close that funding gap and ensure the federal government can provide treatment to everyone who makes the decision to get help. Unfortunately, the LifeBOAT Act and my other measures that would have made sure it was comprehensive, were not included. I will continue to fight for my other measures that will put real resources behind this fight to end the opioid epidemic because this fight is one we must win.”

In June, Senator Manchin sent a letter to the CARA Conferees to consider legislation that would fight the opioid epidemic on all fronts. To read the full letter, click here.

Below is a full list of legislation Senator Manchin urged the conferees to include in the final compromise bill:

The Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act – LifeBOAT (S. 2977) – This bill would establish a permanent funding stream to expand access to addiction treatment facilities by requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay a $0.01 fee per milligram of opioids. The bill includes a discount or rebate for opioids prescribed to cancer and hospice patients and an exemption for opioids used in medication assisted treatment.

Jessie’s Law (S. 2866) – This bipartisan legislation protects those recovering from addiction by ensuring that medical professionals have access to information about a patient’s addiction if the patient consents. It was inspired by the tragic death of Jessie Grubb, who overdosed when she was sent home with 50 oxycodone after a surgery despite making it very clear to her attending physicians that she was a recovering heroin addict.

The Changing the Culture of the FDA Act (S. 2543) – This bill amends the FDA’s mission statement to include the agency’s responsibility for addressing the public health impact of the opioid epidemic.

Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (S. 1431/H.R. 4697) – This bipartisan bill would improve education about opioid abuse for consumers and physicians and provide assistance to states and the federal government to reduce opioid abuse, diversion, and deaths.

FDA Accountability for Public Safety Act (S. 954) – This bipartisan bill would require the FDA to seek the advice of its experts on the advisory committee when the FDA considers new, dangerous opioid medications.

Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing Act (S. 2758/H.R. 4499) – This bill, which I introduced with Senator Johnson, would eliminate a perverse incentive that physicians have to prescribe unnecessary opioid medications.