Opioids

America is facing an opioid epidemic. Today, more than 90 Americans die each day due to overdosing on opioids.

As a lifelong pharmacist, I have seen opioid addiction end careers and ruin lives. However, at the same time, I have seen firsthand how vital these medications are for those who truly need them. As a pharmacist, I viewed addressing prescription drug abuse as part of my professional duty and I have continued this work in the United States House of Representatives.

While the House has passed many legislative measures to address recovery and prevention of opioid abuse, there is much more that needs to be done. We’re taking action in the Energy and Commerce Committee.

14th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The 14th Annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day takes place this year on Saturday, October 28, 2017 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. This event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means to dispose of prescription drugs. Collection site locations and additional information can be found here. I cannot stress enough the importance of disposing of or securing medications away from those that may use and abuse them.

Locations in the First Congressional District of Georgia:

CVS / Pooler Police Department - 500 Pooler Parkway, Pooler, Georgia 31322

Walmart / Wayne County Sheriff’s Office - 1100 North 1st Street, Jesup, Georgia 31545

Tybee Island Police Department - 78 Van Horn, Tybee Island, Georgia 31328

South Eastern Bank / Charlton County Sheriff’s Office - 4233 2nd Street, Folkston, Georgia 31537

FAST Facts


Current Investigations into the Epidemic

In addition to earlier investigations, our Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, within the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, launched a series of investigations into the opioid epidemic in 2017. Those investigations include: fentanyl, a synthetic opioid; alleged pill dumping; and patient brokering. In addition, the subcommittee has also reviewed various state level responses to the epidemic.

Alleged Pill Dumping

Patient Brokering

  • Bipartisan committee leaders sent a letter to HHS in July regarding reports of “patient brokers” who are serving as intermediaries and profiting from the recruitment of patients seeking treatment for addiction.
  • The letter cited news reports about such facilities, which said that brokers can be paid anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for each patient who they get to enter into a treatment center. These reports also touted free services to lure vulnerable patients looking for help, including free rent, cigarettes, and manicures.

Fentanyl

  • A synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, it is the leading cause of opioid overdose deaths.
  • It is easy and very cheap to illicitly manufacture and has been appearing in communities across the country, mostly coming from China and clandestine labs in Mexico.

Legislation

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act

Last Congress, E&C led two major initiatives that were signed into law that provide critical resources for combating the crisis.

Resources

House Committee on Energy and Commerce - https://energycommerce.house.gov/opioids/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/about-the-epidemic/index.html

U.S. Department of Justice – Diverson Control Division - https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/index.html

White House – Office of National Drug Control Policy - https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp

State of Georgia - Office of Attorney General Chris Carr - https://law.georgia.gov/opioid-abuse