Senate to vote on opioid crisis package this week

Sept 09, 2018
Chris Stewart
The CRIB Act would allow residential pediatric recovery centers like Brigid’s Path to charge Medicaid for their services to drug dependent babies. Pictured is Shelly Decker, a nurse at Brigid’s Path, holding the first newborn treated this past January for neonatal abstinence syndrome at the Kettering clinic. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

In an effort to fight the ongoing opioid epidemic, lawmakers in both Columbus and Washington, D.C., have been pushing dozens of bills that could impact prevention and treatment efforts in the Dayton region.

Both houses of Congress have worked in recent months to combine bills into bipartisan packages of legislation that include everything from interdiction efforts at the nation’s borders to limits on the amount of opioids doctors can prescribe to their patients.

RELATED: Can Dayton go from ‘overdose capital’ to a model for recovery?

Because the flurry of legislation is nearly impossible for any one person to follow, the Dayton Daily News as part of its initiative, The Path Forward, reviewed each piece of legislation to see how it might impact our community.

One of the bills, the U.S. Senate version of House Resolution 6 could be voted on as early as this week. The House version, also called the SUPPORT Act, passed June 22. It included several changes to Medicaid and Medicare as well as provisions to increase access to and research on alternative pain treatments; improve prevention, education and evidence-based treatment; create federal standards for sober living facilities; and increase data collection.

The Senate version includes provisions from several bills sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Among them:

Portman said he was encouraged that not a single senator from either political party voted against bringing the legislation to the Senate floor.

“This crisis affects every state in our country, and this legislation’s unanimous passage is an encouraging example of putting partisanship aside to achieve meaningful results for our constituents,” he said.

RELATED: New challenge for recovering addicts: Finding a job

The combined package will not allocate new money, lawmakers have said, but the last Congress passed two pieces of legislation that are currently providing many of the local resources for combating the opioid crisis. They are CARA (The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act) and the 21st Century Cures Act.

See the accompanying box for descriptions of those bills and other opioid-related legislation in Congress and in the Ohio General Assembly.

How to get help: An opioid addiction resource guide