March 30, 2017

Manchin Attends Meeting at the White House Focused on Ending the Opioid Epidemic

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today attended a meeting at the White House with President Trump, Vice President Pence and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, focused on ending the opioid epidemic.

“I was pleased to join President Trump and members of his administration today to discuss the opioid epidemic and the challenges that hundreds of thousands of West Virginians are facing each day because of it,” Senator Manchin said. “The President’s commission to combat drug addiction and the opioid crisis demonstrates our shared commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic but we must do more. Although Congress passed CARA, there are still not enough resources and funding to properly end this public health crisis once and for all. Since I arrived in the Senate, I have fought against the opioid epidemic in every way I can. I rescheduled Hydrocodone to a schedule II drug, I fought to have Zohydro – a highly addictive substance –taken off the market and I successfully pushed for the reinstatement of the DEA’s National Drug Take-Back Day Program. I am committed to working with the President, his administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight opioid abuse from all angles. With 91 people dying from opioid abuse every day, we cannot afford to let this continue. We had a very productive conversation today and this commission only adds to the all-hands-on-deck approach that we need.”

Below is a list of Senator Manchin’s accomplishments against the opioid crisis in the 114th Congress:

The Promoting Responsible Opioid Prescribing Act: Senator Manchin cosponsored this bill to decouple hospital and physician payments from questions on the patient satisfaction survey related pain management to ensure that physicians don’t feel undue financial pressure to prescribe opioids when not medically necessary. While it did not pass, HHS made the necessary changes administratively due to pressure and support from Congress.

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act: Senator Manchin was a cosponsor of this bill, which was signed into law. It will expand funding for drug abuse prevention and recovery efforts, increasing access to naloxone to reverse overdoses and launch new treatment programs for opioid addiction. The bill includes language from Senator Manchin’s amendment to improve consumer education about the danger of opioid abuse, which passed by a vote of 90-0. It also requires FDA to seek the advice of an advisory committee when approving a new opioid under most circumstances, something Senator Manchin has long pushed for.

Changes at the FDA: Senator Manchin has pushed for significant changes at the FDA. As a result of these efforts, the FDA announced the opioid action plan, which is improving the agency’s response to the opioid crisis.

CDC Prescribing Guidelines: Senator Manchin led the fight in the Senate to preserve the CDC’s prescribing guidelines. With the strong support from the Senate led by Senator Manchin, the CDC was able to overcome opposition at the FDA and among some consumer groups and put out strong, meaningful guidelines to provide physicians with the information that they need to reduce unnecessary opioid prescriptions.

For a full list of Senator Manchin’s efforts to end the opioid epidemic, click here.