U.S. Representative Reid Ribble (WI-08) this week voted with the majority of the House to pass a series of measures to fight the growing opioid epidemic facing Wisconsin and the nation.
"When I meet with sheriffs across Northeast Wisconsin, the biggest problem they tell me they are facing, without fail, is addiction," Ribble said. "Too many families have been devastated by a parent or a child addicted to painkillers or heroin, and overdose deaths in Wisconsin doubled between 2003 and 2014. These bills are important steps in the fight to turn that around."
Below are summaries of bills that Representative Ribble voted with a majority of the House of Representatives to pass this week:
The Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act (H.R. 4063):
This bipartisan bill, cosponsored by Representative Ribble, would improve Department of Veterans Affairs opioid safety measures by increasing training, accountability, and oversight of pain management practices in all VA facilities. It would also require a GAO investigation and report of VA opioid use and treatment and mandate stronger reporting requirements to state controlled substance monitoring programs.
The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act (H.R. 5046):
This bipartisan bill combats the opioid epidemic by establishing a streamlined, comprehensive opioid abuse grant program that encompasses a variety of new and existing programs, such as vital training and resources for first responders and law enforcement, criminal investigations for the unlawful distribution of opioids, drug courts, and residential substance abuse treatment. The bill authorizes $103 million annually for the grant program and is fully offset for cut-go purposes.
The Opioid Program Evaluation (OPEN) Act (H.R. 5052):
This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, increases the transparency and accountability of the comprehensive opioid abuse grant program. Specifically, it requires grantees to report on the use of grant funds and requires a publicly available analysis of whether or not the grants have achieved their intended purposes.
The Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016 (H.R. 5048):
This bill, authored by Representative Frank Guinta, requires the Government Accountability Office to study state and local Good Samaritan laws that protect caregivers, law enforcement personnel, and first responders who administer opioid overdose reversal drugs or devices from criminal liability, as well as those who contact emergency service providers in response to an overdose.
The Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015 (S. 32):
This bill combats drug trafficking and the importation of chemicals used to make illicit drugs in the United States. It improves law enforcement's ability to pursue international drug manufacturers, brokers, and distributors who do not actually traffic their narcotics into the United States. The legislation also imposes penalties on trafficking in "listed chemicals," which are used to produce illegal drugs like methamphetamine. Additionally, the bill amends current law to clarify that only those who knowingly transport a counterfeit drug can be prosecuted, to ensure that truck drivers, parcel services, or even patients with prescriptions will not be vulnerable to prosecution if they did not know the drug was counterfeit.