Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced the Opioid Abuse Deterrence, Research, and Recovery Act—a bill to combat the rapidly spreading opioid crisis in America.
The opioid crisis has rocked the United States for 20 years since the 1990’s, and in that time, it’s become widely referred to as an epidemic—or a rapid acceleration of prescription and non-prescription drug abuse. The opioid epidemic has devastated families, neighborhoods, and communities across the country, with nearly 90 Americans dying per day from opioid related incidents. according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Law enforcement officials, physicians, and treatment centers across the country have done an admirable job attempting to contain the problem, but the epidemic has left these communities overwhelmed as they try to address the root causes of the problem and help rehabilitate those suffering from its damage.
Their bill seeks to an underlying cause of this issue by placing common-sense parameters, with appropriate flexibility, around initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain in order to limit the risks of addiction. Research conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that the risks for addiction to prescription opioids dramatically increase around seven days after prescribed. This bill would place a limit on a patient’s first opioid prescription for acute-pain to no more than 7 days, except in cases of traumatic injury, chronic conditions, cancer-care, end of life care, palliative care, or based on a physician’s recommendation. The limitation to seven days would appropriately mitigate risks of abuse while also providing flexibility for doctors and patients to receive treatment where needed.
“Far too many men, women, and families across the country have suffered from the preventable spread of opioid abuse in America,” Rep. Meadows said. “The effects of this crisis are heartbreaking, and I know for me, they’re felt right at home. My state of North Carolina has 4 of the top 20 cities in America suffering from opioid abuse, with over 12,000 North Carolinians dying as a result of the epidemic since 1996. This has got to end—and we believe Congress has an opportunity to lead by helping establish standards that benefit doctors, patients, and treatment centers alike. I want to thank my colleague, Jim Renacci, as well, for his efforts. I’m grateful we could introduce this bill to begin a process of seriously addressing this crisis that has impacted so many.”
“Ohio is the number one state affected by this epidemic. In my district, alone coroners are running out of space, and now need to rent coolers to hold the overflow of body’s due to overdose,” Rep. Renacci said. However this isn’t a local crisis, it’s a national crisis. Evidence shows that more than 80% of individuals addicted to heroin started out on opioid pain relievers. That is why we must start with limiting Schedule II & III opioid prescriptions at a seven day limit federally for the treatment of acute pain. I appreciate my friend Congressman Meadows and his staff for joining forces with us to make an even stronger impact. “
Read the full bill HERE.