Gibbs Joins Colleagues in Combating Opioid Abuse

May 12, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – The House dedicated this week to passing a series of bills focused on fighting the nationwide epidemic of opioid and heroin addiction.  The bills emphasize a range of issues related to the increase in opioid abuse, from reducing painkiller abuse at VA facilities to giving states the tools to increase access to life-saving drugs like Naloxone.

In total, the House approved eighteen bills including H.R. 5046, the Comprehensive Opioid Reduction Act, which creates a grant program to supplement state level efforts to address the opioid epidemic.  The uses for grant funding can include: programs that are alternatives to prison for those breaking the law, providing police, EMT and other first responders with appropriate training to administer overdose reversal drugs, and efforts to end juvenile opioid abuse.

“Our goal this week was to address every aspect of this epidemic.” said Congressman Bob Gibbs. “From providing resources for law enforcement to protecting infants born into addiction, we want to make sure everyone affected by opioid abuse can access the help they need.  Ohio has seen a dramatic increase in opioid-related deaths. The grant programs in this legislation can help Ohio communities reverse overdoses, divert addicts away from prison towards treatment, and allow states to develop their own customized opioid abuse reduction programs.

Gibbs added, “When it comes to helping those who are vulnerable to addiction, we cannot forget our nation’s veterans.  That’s why the House passed the Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, a bill that reforms the way caregivers prescribe opioids at VA facilities and improves accountability measures in prescribing painkillers.”

Jason Simcakoski was a veteran who was prescribed multiple drugs that resulted in his death at a VA facility.  By increasing accountability and improving safety measures, veterans will be given better and more responsible care so deaths like Jason’s can be avoided in the future.

Other bills in this week’s votes included efforts to address infants born to addiction, a syndrome called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. This supplements the Protecting Our Infants Act, which supports the Department of Health and Human Services in collaborating with state health agencies to treat children born addicted to opioids.

Click here for more information on the legislation approved this week.