Congress could help fight the opioid crisis by passing the next mental health package

The opioid disaster has engulfed each nook of our nation, and has solely worsened over time. Every of us has been affected by this tragic pandemic, whether or not it’s the dying of a member of the family or buddy, a neighbor in our group, or a fellow classmate of our youngsters. Too many funerals are attributable to this preventable risk to public well being.

Annually, we expect we hit a brand new excessive in drug overdose deaths in the USA solely to see a rise once more the next yr. Based on the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, Greater than 107,000 People misplaced their lives as a result of a drug overdose in 2021 – A rise of 15 p.c from the earlier yr and a rise of 123 p.c from January 2015.

Of explicit concern is the rise in artificial opioids, similar to fentanyl, in these deaths: Practically two-thirds of overdose deaths — greater than 70,000 — are associated to fentanyl. Our house states, Arkansas and Michigan, noticed will increase of 20.23 p.c and 9.31 p.c, respectively, in drug overdoses. These statistics are horrifying, and it’s our responsibility as members of Congress to work in a bipartisan method to seek out options to fight the opioid disaster head on and put the variety of deaths on a downward development.

Combating the opioid disaster requires a multi-pronged strategy in any respect ranges of presidency. One strategy that states, together with Arkansas, have taken is to require co-prescribing of a drug to reverse opioid overdose when an opioid is prescribed. Seeing progress on the state stage impressed us to take this observe to the nationwide stage by bipartisan introduction Prevention of Overdose and Save Lives Act 2.0. Our invoice reauthorizes two Public Well being Companies Act grant packages to fight the opioid disaster and encourages co-prescribing for opioid overdose and will increase entry to opioid overdose reverse medicines.

based on Nationwide Institute on Drug AbuseSome analysis means that when physicians prescribe naloxone together with prescription opioids, the danger of opioid overdose decreases even when the naloxone prescription just isn’t stuffed. Prescribing naloxone seems to be an essential instructional technique. To date, 12 states, together with Arkansas, have enacted profitable frequent description legal guidelines, and with our invoice we hope to deliver the success we have seen statewide to nationwide.

The 2 reauthorized grant packages within the Forestall Overdose and Save Lives Act 2.0 will play a significant position in serving to to stem the tide of opioid overdose by offering funding to states and localities to ascertain opioid overdose reversal prescribing packages, and coaching and offering assets for well being care suppliers and pharmacists on prescribing Opioid Reversal Drugs, co-payments and different cost-sharing related to opioid overdose reversal medicines, and the event of protocols linking overdose sufferers to acceptable remedy.

Our bipartisan invoice was lately included as a part of a broader psychological well being package deal, The Restoring hope, psychological well being and the legislation of well-being, which was accredited by the Home Committee on Vitality and Commerce in Could. This package deal is now one step nearer to receiving consideration within the US Home of Representatives. We urge our colleagues to prioritize this bipartisan invoice that not solely allows states and localities to fight the opioid disaster in a complete method, but additionally enhances important entry to behavioral well being care providers.

Many households have been devastated by drug overdose. The greater than 107,000 People who died final yr are greater than only a statistic. They had been moms, fathers, kids, grandparents, mates, neighbors, and lovers. Whereas our invoice is an arrow within the many proposals on the desk, it is vital that Congress meet and act rapidly on behalf of all People. It is time to act and save lives.

Hill represents Arkansas’ second district. Dingell represents Michigan’s twelfth District and is a member of the Vitality and Commerce Committee.