U.S. House overwhelmingly passes opioid reform bill

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The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill that addresses the ongoing opioid epidemic.

The bill, titled the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (HR 6), combines more than 50 individual bills targeted at bolstering opioid research, prevention efforts, and treatment and recovery programs. Specific provisions of the bill include the following:

  • Require the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to educate prescribers about best opioid and pain management prescription practices.
  • Require state Medicaid programs to monitor concurrent opioid prescriptions and put safety protocols into place for opioid refills.
  • Require Medicaid providers to check prescription drug monitoring programs before prescribing schedule II controlled substances, including oxycodone, codeine, and hydrocodone.
  • Direct the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to work with manufacturers to find ways to efficiently return or destroy unused schedule II drugs.
  • Fund nonaddictive pain medication research at the National Institutes of Health.

The bill passed the House 396-14 with support from both Republicans and Democrats. It now goes to the Senate, which is currently working on its own version of opioid reform legislation.

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