Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have introduced bipartisan legislation to save and protect recovering opioid addicts. Jessie's Law would help ensure physicians and other medical professionals have full knowledge of their patient's previous opioid addiction when consent is given. This will help prevent tragic events like the death of Jessie Grubb by providing physicians and other medical professionals with this information at every step of a patient's care, enabling them to consider the patient's addiction when determining appropriate medical care.
"Over forty percent of people in our country know someone who has suffered from addiction to prescription opioids. It is critical that physicians and other medical professionals are equipped with the information they need about a patient's medical history before making decisions about their treatment," Klobuchar said. "Our bipartisan legislation will help prevent tragedies like Jessie's from happening again and ensure that patients receive the proper care they need in their fight against this deadly epidemic."
After battling addiction for seven years, Jessie was sober and focusing on making a life for herself in Michigan. She was training to run in a marathon and had to undergo surgery for a running related injury. Her parents, David and Kate Grubb, went to Michigan for her surgery and told her doctors and hospital personnel that she was a recovering addict. However, after Jessie's surgery, the discharging doctor, who said he didn't know she was a recovering addict, sent her home with a prescription for 50 oxycodone pills. Before her death, David shared her story with President Obama when he came to Charleston for a town hall on the opioid epidemic. Her story had a deep impact on him and she is often credited with inspiring him to dedicate more resources to fighting this devastating epidemic.
As a former Hennepin County Attorney, Klobuchar has long led local and national efforts to curb drug abuse and help people overcome addiction. Last week, she and ten other senators introduced the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment (LifeBOAT) Act, which would establish a reliable funding stream to provide and expand access to substance abuse treatment. Earlier this year, she and a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Synthetic and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act and the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act. The SALTS Act would make it easier to prosecute the sale of "analogue" drugs, which are synthetic substances that are substantially similar to illegal drugs. The STOP Act would help close a loophole in the U.S. postal system to stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers in the U.S. Klobuchar was also one of four senators, along with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), to lead the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). This bipartisan bill, which was signed into law last July, encourages states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies in the fight against opioid addiction. At the end of 2016, $1 billion was made available by Congress to fund the national effort. To build on the monumental first step of CARA, Klobuchar introduced the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act, which would require the use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) 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. In September 2014, the DEA implemented Klobuchar's bipartisan Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act. Under the legislation, consumers are provided with more safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused prescription medications and controlled substances.