Today, U.S. Representative David Trone (D-MD), along with Reps. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), and David McKinley (R-WV), introduced the bipartisan Opioid Patients' Right to Know Act to help prevent opioid addiction across the country.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health care providers dispensed over 153 million opioid prescriptions in 2019, and a recent study estimates that 1% to 4% of individuals who take prescription opioids develop opioid use disorder, putting their lives at risk. The Opioid Patients' Right to Know Act would create a grant program to incentivize states to require prescribers to discuss the addictive qualities of the drugs with patients and inform them of alternative treatment options before prescribing them for acute pain.
"Opioid addiction is on the rise, made even worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we need to take steps to prevent it from happening in the first place," said Rep. Trone, member of the Commission to Combat Synthetic Opioid Trafficking. "This bill will help ensure that patients have the knowledge to make informed decisions about what treatment option is right for them."
"Too many lives have been cut short by the opioid crisis, which continues to wreak havoc on families and communities in southwestern Pennsylvania and throughout the country," said Rep. Reschenthaler. "I'm proud to join with Representative Trone to introduce the bipartisan Opioid Patients' Right to Know Act, which will increase awareness of opioids' addictive qualities and encourage doctors to discuss non-opioid alternatives. I hope our colleagues join us in supporting this bill to empower patients and save lives."
"Countless families across New Mexico and around the country have suffered through the pain of opioid addiction. In New Mexico, one-third of all drug overdose deaths involved prescription opioids. We rely on our health professionals to be clear and honest about treatment. This bill helps ensure these professionals make us fully aware of the risks of opioids before writing a prescription," said Rep. Leger Fernández. "This bill puts a public health lens on the opioid epidemic and will bring us one step closer to beating it."
"The opioid crisis continues to take the lives of tens of thousands of Americans across the nation and the pandemic has only exacerbated this epidemic," said Rep. McKinley. "This bill strengthens communication between patients and prescribers to ensure patients have the information they need to make educated decisions. People need to know the true risks when considering options to manage their pain and understand there are alternatives to highly addictive opioids."
"Every American has the right to be warned about the highly addictive qualities of opioids--and that there are effective non-opioid pain relief alternatives-and to receive this warning at the time it is most needed--right before an opioid is prescribed," said Elaine Pozycki, the Founder of Prevent Opioid Abuse, a national organization working to educate patients and parents about the risks of opioid-based pain relievers and the availability of non-opioid alternatives. "The Opioid Patients' Right to Know Act provides the incentives needed to persuade every state in the nation to adopt this proven prevention measure. I urge Congress to move speedily to adopt it."
"We appreciate the efforts of Congressman Trone. His continued leadership on the opioid use crisis is sorely needed during these difficult times," said Hon. Mary Bono, Co-Convenor of the Collaborative for Effective Prescription Opioid Policies (CEPOP).
"Voices for Non-Opioid Choices is dedicated to combatting the opioid epidemic by expanding access to and utilization of non-opioid options for acute pain management. We applaud Representatives Trone, McKinley, Leger Fernandez, and Reschenthaler for introducing The Opioids Patients' Right to Know Act, which will help to ensure patients and providers are educated about opioids and learn about the non-opioid treatment options that may be available to them. We are hopeful this effort will help reduce the rates of chronic opioid use after surgery in America, and provide greater access to non-opioid options. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to curb the opioid epidemic by providing parity in acute pain management," said Chris Fox, Executive Director for Voices for Non-Opioid Choices.
Organizations supporting the Opioid Patients' Right to Know Act include: Prevent Opioid Abuse (POA), Collaborative for Effective Prescription Opioid Policies (CEPOP), Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA), Partnership to End Addiction, Shatterproof, Addiction Policy Forum, FED UP!, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), and Voices for Non-Opioid Choices.