April 06, 2018

Multiple Manchin Provisions included in Bipartisan Opioid Package

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that many of his provisions are included in The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, bipartisan opioid legislation that will improve the ability of the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to address the crisis, including the ripple effects of the crisis on children, families, and communities, and improve data sharing between states. The Senate health committee will take up this legislation on Wednesday, April 11th

“West Virginia is ground zero of the opioid epidemic and I have been working to make sure that solutions important to fighting this crisis in West Virginia were included in this bipartisan opioid bill,” Senator Manchin said. “Not only will this bill make sure our government agencies are coordinating their efforts, which is long overdue, but it includes solutions to help reduce the indirect damage this crisis has caused to children, families and communities in our state. This bill does not include everything that we need though. During the amendment process, I will be working to include mandatory prescriber education, full inclusion of the Legacy Act to ensure quality care coordination, and inclusion of the LifeBOAT Act to create a permanent funding stream for substance use treatment centers.”

Senator Manchin championed the following provisions that were included:

  • 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. Similar to the Opioid Response Enhancement Act (S. 2437) and Targeted Opioid Funding Act (S. 2125) which Senator Manchin has cosponsored.
  • 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.
    • Includes Jessie’s Law, which passed as part of the FY18 omnibus spending bill.
    • Touches on the Protecting Jessica Grubb’s Legacy Act (S. 1850) by requiring HHS to provide materials for training medical professionals in the safe sharing of substance use disorder treatment records, but does not solve the underlying problem regarding the need for access to treatment records for coordinated care that would be solved by passing the Legacy Act.
  • Improving Access to Treatment and Recovery: The bill establishes a grant program to create comprehensive opioid recovery centers in hard hit communities.
    • Senator Manchin introduced the LifeBOAT Act to establish a funding stream to fund efforts to provide and expand access to substance use disorder treatment and recovery. To pay for this treatment, this bill would establish a 1 cent fee on each milligram of opioid in a pain pill. Including the LifeBOAT Act would strengthen the bill’s efforts to improve access to recovery services.
  • 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. 
    • Senator Manchin has pushed for research funding for non-opioid pain treatments through NIH, the VA, and other federal agencies.
    • Senator Manchin sent a letter to the FDA urging them to review all opioid medications to take into account the public health risks of these dangerous drugs.
  • Examining Opioid Prescription Limits: Requires the Secretary of HHS to issue a report on limiting opioid prescriptions.
    • Senator Manchin is a cosponsor of the Opioid Addiction Prevention Act of 2017 (S. 892), which would limit initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain to no more than 7 days.
  • Improving Youth Prevention and Recovery Services: Includes grant funding to strengthen youth prevention and recovery services, particularly in schools.
    • Senator Manchin has pushed for increased education on the dangers of opioids, particularly for youth. His successful amendment to CARA targeted resources to consumer education and his successful amendment to the Every Student Succeeds Act ensured that schools could use federal education funds to support students dealing with substance abuse. He has strongly supported funding mental healthcare and counseling services in schools and through after school programs. 
  • Consumer and Provider Education: Advance awareness of the risks of opioid misuse and abuse by strengthening CDC’s efforts to educate consumers and providers.
    • Senator Manchin’s successful amendment to CARA targeted resources to consumer education. 
    • Senator Manchin is a cosponsor of the Safer Prescribing of Controlled Substances Act (S. 1554), which would go much farther than this draft bill by requiring physicians to receive training on the safe prescribing of opioids before receiving or renewing their DEA license.
  • Trauma-Informed Care for Youth: Includes funding to support programs that offer trauma-informed care for youth.
    • This is complementary to Senator Manchin’s upcoming bill to establish funding for the “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. West Virginia’s Handle with Care program has helped children in all 55 counties in West Virginia get the support that they need and has served as a model for other states. Senator Manchin’s legislation will offer funding to build on this successful trauma-informed care model.
  • Improving Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs: Encourages providers to use PDMPs and improving interoperability between PDMPs and health IT systems.
    • Senator Manchin is a cosponsor of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act of 2017  (S.778), which would go even further to require the use of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) in all states that receive certain federal funding to combat opioid abuse and also requires states to make their PDMP data available to other states. PDMPs are electronic databases used to track the prescribing and dispensing of prescription drugs to patients.

Click here for the text of the discussion draft, and here for a summary.