Working to Stop the Opioid Crisis

July 13, 2018
Editorial

On July 11, I made sure those voices were heard in our nation’s capital with my work on the House Appropriations Committee, passing funding that will help our communities fight the opioid crisis.

The legislation includes $1 billion for state grants that will allow states and local governments to determine the best way to address the epidemic in their communities. Michigan received $16 million from this program in April and will receive more, if the funding passes the Senate, and signed into law by the president.

More funding for states and communities is just one the actions taken in the House of Representatives in the last six weeks.

In fact, you may not have heard about this news but the House passed multiple bills that will make a difference for those on the frontlines of fighting opioid addiction in our rural communities and across the country.

These bills take on the opioid crisis from all angles, through prevention, treatment, and community safety.

 

First, the ACE Research Act, which lets the National Institutes of Health (NIH) do innovative research into urgently needed non-addictive pain medications. The successful development of these drugs would help patients treat their pain without the pull of addiction and would save lives.

Second, is Jessie’s Law, named after a Michigan resident who was tragically prescribed opioids even after she told the hospital she was recovering from opioid addiction. This legislation will help prevent such a tragedy by ensuring medical professionals have access to a consenting patient’s complete health history when making treatment decisions.

Third, we need to do more to protect seniors and remove unused opioids from places where they could be abused. The Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act will reduce substance abuse in nursing homes by allowing hospice employees to safely dispose of medications on site after the death of a patient.

Finally, I voted for the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act which prevents addiction by requiring state Medicaid programs to have safety procedures in place for opioid refills and the monitoring of opioid prescriptions. The legislation also takes on the growing problem of fentanyl in our communities by providing grants to state and local agencies so they can establish labs to detect the drug and other synthetic opioids.

The opioid crisis has affected people across mid and northern Michigan. The legislation I voted for will prevent opioid abuse and make our communities safer. It is patient-centered and will empower health professionals with the tools they need to help at-risk patients. I hope the Senate will take up this legislation soon. In the meantime, I will continue to listen to community leaders, health care professionals, families, and especially those recovering from addiction to help make progress in this fight for the lives of our loved ones.

Congressman John Moolenaar represents Michigan’s Fourth Congressional District which is made up of Clare, Clinton, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Osceola, Roscommon, Shiawassee, and Wexford counties, and parts of Montcalm and Saginaw counties.

Issues: