March 19, 2018

Manchin Applauds President Trump's Plan to End the Opioid Epidemic

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today applauded President Donald Trump’s plan to end the opioid epidemic. The President’s plan includes many provisions that Senator Manchin has been fighting for.

“President Trump and I agree that we must fight the opioid epidemic by increasing public education; giving our law enforcement officials the tools they need to stop the spread of opioids; and expanding access to substance use disorder treatment and recovery centers, including for our military and veterans and for those in the criminal justice system. I’ve been fighting for these policies and more for years and I applaud the President’s leadership as we work to end this epidemic,” Senator Manchin said.

“By improving public education and investing in policies that will keep unnecessary and illicit opioids off our streets we can prevent addiction. We also must get serious about providing funding to our communities for substance use disorder treatment and for critical efforts to prevent overdose deaths so that people have the chance to get clean and repair their lives. I look forward to working with the President, members of the Appropriations Committee, and with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that the hardest hit states like West Virginia have access to the tools and resources that they need to successfully address this crisis and save lives.”

Read provisions of the President’s plan and Senator Manchin’s efforts below: 

Reducing Demand and Overprescribing

  • Public Education
    • The President’s plan would launch a nationwide evidence-based campaign to raise public awareness about the dangers of prescription and illicit opioid use.
    • Senator Manchin introduced an amendment to establish a National Education Campaign to educate consumers on the risks and dangers of opioids, which passed the Senate by a vote of 90-0. He also supported CARA and is a co-sponsor of CARA 2.0, which includes funding for prevention education and would fund a comprehensive national program.
  • Research into Alternatives
    • The President’s plan would support research and development efforts for innovative technologies and additional therapies designed to prevent addiction and decrease the use of opioids in pain management. This will include supporting research and development for a vaccine to prevent opioid addiction and non-addictive pain management options.
    • As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Manchin has pushed for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is doing ground-breaking work in alternative pain management research.

Cutting off the Supply of Illicit Drugs

  • Keeping dangerous drugs out of the Country
    • The President’s plan would:
      • Secure land borders, ports of entry, and water ways against illegal smuggling.
      • Require advanced electronic data for 90 percent of all international mail shipments and consignment shipments within three years, flagging high-risk shipments.
      • Identify and inspect high-risk shipments leveraging advanced screening technologies and by using drug-detecting canines.
      • Test and identify suspicious substances in high-risk international packages to quickly detect and remove known and emerging illicit drugs before they can cause harm.
      • Engage with China and expanding cooperation with Mexico to reduce supplies of heroin, other illicit opioids, and precursor chemicals.
  • Senator Manchin has co-sponsored the STOP Act (S. 372) to make it harder to ship dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil through our borders, mainly from China and India, to drug traffickers in the United States by mandating that all packages shipped to the United States must provide Advance Electronic Data (AED).  As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Manchin has supported funding to increase the screening capabilities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to detect deadly illicit fentanyl crossing our borders.
  • Going after Bad Actors
    • The President’s plan would advance the DOJ Prescription Interdiction and Litigation (PIL) Task Force to fight the prescription opioid crisis. The PIL Task Force will expand the DOJ Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit’s efforts to prosecute corrupt or criminally negligent doctors, pharmacies, and distributors. It will also aggressively deploy appropriate criminal and civil actions to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for any unlawful practices.
  • Senator Manchin has pushed for the repeal and replacement of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016, which undermined DEA’s ability to go after bad actors and immediately suspend suspicious opioid orders. He is a cosponsor of S. 1960, which would repeal the law, and introduced the DEA Enforcement and Authority Act of 2018 (S. 2493) to make the changes requested by DOJ to ensure that the agency has the tools that they need to go after the companies that are flooding our communities with unnecessary opioids.

Helping Those Struggling with Addiction: Evidence-based treatment and recovery support services

  • Increasing Access to Naloxone
    • The President’s plan would work to ensure first responders are supplied with naloxone to reverse overdoses.
    • Senator Manchin cosponsored CARA 2.0 which provides $300 million to expand first responder training and access to naloxone
  • Improving Overdose Tracking
    • The President’s plan would leverage Federal funding opportunities to State and local jurisdictions to incentivize and improve nationwide overdose tracking systems that will help resources to be rapidly deployed to hard-hit areas.
    • Senator Manchin has pushed for funding for West Virginia and the first responders who are using tools like this in the field. 
  • Increasing Access to Treatment:
    • The President’s plan would expand access to evidence-based addiction treatment, particularly Medication-Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction.
    • Senator Manchin has:
      • Introduced the LifeBOAT Act to establish a dedicated funding mechanism to support the Substance Abuse and Treatment Block grant by placing a $0.01/per milligram stewardship fee on the manufacturers of opioids.
      • Cosponsored CARA 2.0 which seeks:
        • To make permanent Section 303 of CARA which allows physician assistance and nurse practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine under the direction of a qualified physician.
        • To allow states to waive the limit on the number patients a physician can treat with buprenorphine so long as they follow evidence-based guidelines. There is currently a cap of 100 patients per physician.
        • $300 million to expand evidence-based medication-assisted treatment.
        • $100 million to expand treatment for pregnant and postpartum women, including facilities that allow children to reside with their mothers.
        • Cosponsored the Combatting the Opioid Epidemic Act (S. 2004) to appropriate $45 billion to address the opioid abuse crisis.
        • Cosponsored the Opioid Response Enhancement Act (S. 2437) to reauthorize and enhance the State Targeted Opioid Response (STR) program. A key goal of the program aims to address the opioid crisis by increasing funding for the hardest hit states and increasing access to treatment.
        • Cosponsored the Strengthening the Addiction Treatment Workforce Act (S. 1453) to make addiction treatment facilities eligible for the National Health Service Corps student loan repayment program, which will expand access to coverage for individuals in rural areas.
        • As a member of the Appropriations Committee, pushed for funding for treatment programs, including the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant.
  • Eliminating Barriers to Treatment
    • The President’s plan would seek legislative changes to allow Medicaid to reimburse residential treatment at certain facilities with more than 16 beds and continue approving State Medicaid waivers to these barriers to inpatient treatment.
    • Senator Manchin cosponsored the Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion Act (S. 1169), which would allow Medicaid to reimburse residential treatment at certain facilities. He also supported West Virginia’s waiver, which was approved by CMS, to waive the IMD exclusion and allow Medicaid coverage for treatment services at facilities with more than 16 beds. 
  • Improving Treatment for the Military and Veterans
    • The President’s plan would provide on-demand, evidence-based addiction treatment to service members, veterans and their families eligible for healthcare through the DOD or VA.
    • Senator Manchin cosponsored CARA 2.0, which would provide $20 million to expand Veterans Treatment Courts. He also introduced the Andrew White Veterans Community Care Opioid Safety Act (S. 2134) to strengthen opioid therapy safety and pain care through the Department of Veterans Affairs community care programs, including through the VA Choice program.
  • Improving Treatment in the Criminal Justice System
    • The President’s plan would leverage opportunities in the criminal justice system to identify and treat offenders struggling with addiction:
      • Screen every Federal inmate for opioid addiction at intake.
      • For those who screen positive and are approved for placement in residential reentry centers, facilitate treatment prior to and while at residential reentry centers and facilitate connection to community treatment services as needed.
      • Scale up support for State, Tribal, and local drug courts in order to provide offenders struggling with addiction access to evidence-based treatment as an alternative to or in conjunction with incarceration, or as a condition of supervised release. 
  • Senator Manchin has:
    • Introduced LifeBOAT which would provide funding for treatment programs, including those in conjunction with Adult and Family Treatment Drug Courts.
    • As a member of the Appropriations Committee, strongly supported drug courts and alternatives to help individuals get treatment instead of prison time.
    • Pushed for funding for West Virginia, including $1.4 million for the WV Supreme Court through the Adult Drug Court Discretionary Grant Program.
    • Introduced the Clean Start Act (S. 511) to allow people with a federal felony or misdemeanor conviction for a past nonviolent crime committed as a result of drug addiction an opportunity to have their criminal record sealed after undergoing comprehensive addiction treatment and demonstrating a commitment to their recovery.