February 08, 2019

Manchin Reintroduces Legislation in the 116th Congress to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has reintroduced six bills to help combat the current opioid epidemic in West Virginia and America. Each bill addresses a different aspect of the opioid crisis, which includes providing individuals with nonviolent drug offenses the chance to have their records sealed, providing federal funds to expand access to substance abuse treatment, and requires greater accountability at the Food and Drug Administration when approving new opioids.

“West Virginia is ground zero of the opioid epidemic and I have been working to make sure that we have the right tools to fight this crisis. These bills will give people more chances to get help and to not be haunted for the rest of their lives by a criminal record. People suffering with addiction are not bad people and deserve a second chance. Other bills will make sure we are continuing to take steps to fight this crisis, ensuring that new people don’t become addicted to these horrible drugs. I hope that my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican will help all Americans battling addiction and help pass these bills into law,” said Senator Manchin.

The complete list of bills and more information on each bill can be found below.


Full List of Opioid Legislation:

The Clean Start Act: This bill will 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. This bill will give people who wish to reform their lives a clean start.

LifeBOAT Act: This bill would establish a funding stream to fund efforts to provide and expand access to substance abuse treatment through the existing Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. To pay for this treatment, this bill would establish a 1 cent fee on each milligram of opioid in a pain pill. The bill includes a rebate for cancer related pain and hospice patients and an exemption for opioids used as part of medically assisted treatment.

The Changing the Culture of the FDA Act: This bill would amend the FDA’s mission statement to include the agency’s responsibility for addressing the public health impact of the opioid epidemic. To date, the FDA has failed to consider the devastating public health impact of their repeated decisions to approve dangerously addictive opioids. This bill would help drive the culture change that we need to see at the FDA with regard to opioid approvals. 

FDA Accountability for Public Safety Act: This bill would require the FDA to seek the advice of an advisory committee before approving any new opioid and requires the agency to provide a report to Congress if it approves an opioid against the advice of that committee. Distribution of the drug would be prohibited until the report is submitted. 

Protecting Americans from Dangerous Opioids Act: This bill would require the FDA to remove approval for an existing opioid medication for every new opioid medication that it approves. 

DEA Enforcement and Authority Act: This legislation would restore the DEA’s ability to effectively enforce our nation’s drug laws by making the critical changes requested by the Department of Justice to the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, which passed in 2016.