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ADA asks House to prioritize several opioids bills

June 13, 2018

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — In advance of the House of Representatives voting on opioids legislation, the ADA expressed support for several proposals that complement the Association's ongoing efforts to keep prescription opioid pain medications from becoming a source of harm.

In a June 12 letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the ADA supported the following bills:

  • HR 5002, the ACE Research Act, which authorizes the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on innovative nonaddictive pain medications. The ADA supports developing the spectrum of nonnarcotic alternatives to opioid pain relievers.
  • HR 5261, the TEACH to Combat Addiction Act of 2018. Bill offers grants for clinical training and curriculum development to enhance the skills needed for providers to manage acute pain with minimal use of opioids, identify risky substance use behaviors, and briefly counsel and refer those patients for appropriate treatment.
  • HR 5812, the Creating Opportunities That Necessitate New and Enhanced Connections That Improve Opioid Navigating Strategies Act. Bill offers infrastructure grants and technical assistance to help states improve their prescription drug monitoring programs. The ADA believes the programs are a "crucial part of helping prescribers keep opioids from getting into the wrong hands. However, it is critical that these programs be easy to use and that the data has integrity and is available across state lines," wrote ADA President Joseph P. Crowley and Executive Director Kathleen T. O'Loughlin.
  • HR 5197, the Alternatives to Opioids in the Emergency Department Act. The ADA supports offering grants to help acute care providers, such as hospital emergency rooms and implementing best practices for using nonaddictive alternatives to opioids. Dentists collaborating with hospitals in unique ways to facilitate referrals to dental offices and clinics is a component of the ADA's Action for Dental Health campaign.
  • HR 5687, the Securing Opioids and Unused Narcotics With Deliberate Disposal and Packaging Act. Bill calls for manufacturers to develop new and convenient ways for consumers and others to safely dispose of unused medications.
  • HR 5327, the Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act of 2018, and HR 4684, the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act of 2018. Both bills seek to help organizations that provide recovery support services. "For 20 years, the ADA has helped state dental societies develop formal peer assistance programs to get dentists into treatment before they have an alcohol- or drug-related incident. These programs leverage the confidentiality, trust, and understanding of a tightly knit profession to support dentists throughout their recovery, and help them establish some measure of long-term stability in their lives," wrote Drs. Crowley and O'Loughlin.
  • HR 5776, the Medicare and Opioid Safe Treatment Act, and HR 5774, the Combatting Opioid Abuse for Care in Hospitals Act. HR 5776 includes language adding dentists to a requested pain management study by the secretary of Health and Human Services. HR 5774, the Combatting Opioid Abuse for Care in Hospitals Act, calls for adding a dentist to the technical expert panel for reducing surgical setting opioid use.

"We applaud your bipartisan efforts to alleviate the scourge of opioid abuse that has been devastating our communities, as well as your leadership on this issue," Drs. Crowley and O'Loughlin concluded.

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