September 18, 2018

Warren Applauds Senate Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Combat Opioid Crisis

Legislation Contains Several Key Warren Priorities

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today applauded the Senate passage of bipartisan legislation to address the opioid crisis. 
The bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 99-1, incorporated several of Senator Warren's bipartisan efforts to address opioid epidemic, including:

  • Disposal of Controlled Substances by Hospice Care Providers: This provision will allow hospice care providers to safely and properly dispose of leftover prescription opioid medications in order to reduce diversion and misuse of prescription medications, and require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of hospice safe drug disposal management.
  • Recovery Housing Best Practices: This provision will require HHS to develop guidelines for operating recovery housing, in order to ensure that individuals recovering from an opioid addiction receive quality care.
  • Partial Filling of Opioid Prescriptions: this provision improves implementation of Senator Warren's Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016 by ensuring that more doctors and patients know about the option to partially fill opioid prescriptions.
  • Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances: this provision is based on the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely (EPCS) Act, which Senator Warren introduced with her colleagues to help combat opioid addiction by requiring electronic prescriptions for controlled substances, including opioids, under Medicare.

"The opioid epidemic demands an all-hands-on-deck response," said Senator Warren. "I've repeatedly called on Congress to make the kind of commitment that will give communities the resources they need to win this. While the legislation that passed yesterday could do more to stem the tide of this deadly epidemic, I supported it because it makes some common-sense changes that will help us in this fight. I was especially pleased that several bipartisan provisions I worked on with my colleagues were included in this bill and I look forward to seeing it signed into law."

In April, Senator Warren and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) introduced the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act to provide states and communities with $100 billion in federal funding over ten years, including more than $800 million a year directly to tribal governments and organizations. 

Senator Warren has also been leading efforts in Congress to reduce the number of unused prescription opioid medications left in families' medicine cabinets. Earlier this year, she introduced the bipartisan Hospice Safe Drug Disposal Act to authorize home hospice providers to safely dispose of unused prescriptions of controlled substances. She and Senator Capito introduced the Unused Medications Awareness Act to improve implementation of their Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016, which allows prescriptions for opioid medications to be partially filled by pharmacists at the request of patients and doctors and which became law in 2016. Additionally, Senator Warren has been working to create guidelines for operating recovery housing to ensure that individuals with substance use disorders receive the support they need. In June 2016, she led a bipartisan request for a GAO review of federal and state oversight of sober living homes.  The Senators unveiled the report's findings in April of 2018.