September 07,2018

Press Contact:

Katie Niederee and Nicole Hager, 202-224-4515

Hatch Encouraged Senate Will Vote on “The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018” Next Week

Package Includes More Than 70 Proposals Across Five Senate Committees

WASHINGTON — The Senate yesterday agreed to vote next week on the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 – a bipartisan package of more than 70 proposals recommended to the full Senate by five committees: HELP, Finance, Judiciary, Commerce and Banking. 

“The fact that so many senators across so many committees were able to put aside political differences to reach an agreement on this legislation, especially given our current political environment, speaks to the seriousness and pervasiveness of opioid and substance use disorders,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said. “The Medicare, Medicaid and family service reforms included in this bill are reflective of the HEAL Substance Use Disorders Act, which received unanimous support in the Finance Committee and will help millions of beneficiaries and their families who rely on these programs. Also part of Finance’s efforts was the STOP Act, which will cut down on the movement of illegal drugs across our borders. I look forward to working with the full Senate and House to swiftly get a bill to the president that will provide relief to the suffering individuals, families and communities.” 

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 will: 

Reduce Use and Supply

The legislation includes the STOP Act which will help stop illegal drugs at the border, as well as provisions that provide flexible grants for states to better share Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs data, clarify FDA authority to require set packaging for prescription opioids, such as a 3 or 7 day supply in a blister pack, and fight opioid diversion. 

Encourage Recovery

The legislation includes provisions to support states and Indian tribes in addressing substance use disorders, establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers, expand access to medication-assisted treatment, and improve community support, access to health professionals, tele-health services and long-distance care, and recovery housing services. 

Support Caregivers and Families

The legislation includes provisions to improve plans of safe care and support for substance-exposed babies and their mothers, promote family-focused treatment and recovery, help youth with substance use disorders recover, and strengthen trauma-informed care and support in schools and early childhood education programs. 

Drive Innovation and Long-Term Solutions

The legislation includes provisions to advance cutting-edge research to spur discovery and development of new non-addictive painkillers, address economic and workforce impacts of the opioid crisis, ensure parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits, and improve pain management. 

The Omnibus Appropriations bill enacted in March provided $4.7 billion directed towards the opioid crisis, including $1 billion for grants to states.  

A section by section of The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 can be found here.