Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) issued the following statement today after the Senate passed the House-Senate compromise agreement of H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, a comprehensive bill aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic. This package was passed in the House by a bipartisan vote of 393 to 8 on September 28, 2018. The bill will now be sent to the President to be enacted into law.
"We are now one step closer to enacting this bipartisan legislation that will build on prior efforts to help our local communities and families that are being devastated by the opioid epidemic," said Faso. "This comprehensive package focuses on key areas such as improving treatment for those battling addiction by making available more resources for recovery centers and increasing access to medication-assisted treatment. The bill also contains a key priority of mine that will make a real difference in our battle against the flow of deadly synthetic opioids entering our country by adding new requirements for the screening of packages being shipped through the U.S. Postal Service."
This proposal includes dozens of measures previously voted on in the House and focuses on combating the opioid epidemic through treatment and recovery, prevention, heightening the safety of our communities, and fighting the increasingly popular synthetic opioids.
This bipartisan package includes two proposals championed by Congressman Faso in the House--H.R. 5788, Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act (STOP Act) and H.R. 5685, the Medicare Opioid Safety Education Act. Both bills passed the House with wide bipartisan support in June 2018.
H.R. 5788 would aid in preventing the shipment of synthetic opioids into the United States through the international mail by implementing a new system to gather and act on advanced tracking data that would flag packages susceptible to include synthetic opioids. Read more about the STOP Act here.
H.R. 5685 would substantially improve opioid educational materials in the "Medicare & You' informational booklet by adding available opioid alternatives and additional educational information. Learn more about this bill here.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 72,000 overdose deaths in 2017. Of that number, 30,000 deaths are attributed to synthetic opioids, nearly 16,000 to Heroin, and almost 15,000 to natural or semi-synthetic opioids.