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ADA weighs in on opioids bills ahead of committee markup

May 16, 2018

Washington — In advance of a May 17 markup on opioids bills by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the ADA expressed support for several bills focused on alleviating the opioid crisis:

  • HR 5002, the ACE Research Act. Bill authorizes the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on innovative nonaddictive pain medications.
  • HR 5806, the 21st Century Tools for Pain and Addiction Treatments. Bill directs the Food and Drug Administration to issue or update existing guidance on ways to expedite the development of non-addictive treatments for pain and addiction.
  • 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.
  • HR 5197, the Alternatives to Opioids in the Emergency Department Act. The bill will help acute care providers, such as hospital emergency rooms, implement best practices for using non-addictive alternatives to opioids.
  • 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.

In a May 16 letter, ADA President Joseph P. Crowley and Executive Director Kathleen T. O'Loughlin reminded the committee of the Association's new interim policy on opioids that supports mandates on prescription limits and continuing education. They also said that for 20 years, the Association has helped state dental societies develop formal peer assistance programs to get dentists into treatment before they have an alcohol- or drug-related incident.

However, they noted, the federal response to the opioid crisis "still needs to distinguish pain management in dentistry from pain management in medicine," specifically when it comes to managing acute pain versus chronic pain.

"For that reason, the federal response to the opioid crisis has not been particularly helpful to dentists. We hope you will keep this in mind as these bills move forward," they concluded.

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