Newhouse Applauds Passage of Legislation Combatting Opioid Abuse Epidemic

May 12, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA), released the following statement after supporting House passage of H.R. 5046, the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016 and 17 bills to address the national opioid abuse crisis. H.R. 5046 combats the opioid epidemic by establishing a streamlined, comprehensive opioid abuse grant program that encompasses a variety of new and existing programs, such as vital training and resources for first responders and law enforcement, criminal investigations for the unlawful distribution of opioids, drug courts, and residential substance abuse treatment. The bill authorizes $103 million annually for the grant program and is fully offset for cut-go purposes.

“The tragedy of opioid abuse devastates thousands of American families, and Congress is taking action on bipartisan solutions to combat this crisis,” said Rep. Newhouse. “With a toll of 46,000 Americans lives each year, drug overdoses now claim more lives annually than car accidents. This is unacceptable, and on behalf of families and communities, I support additional resources for law enforcement and for substance abuse treatment. I am grateful for my colleagues’ hard work on these targeted, bipartisan solutions to the opioid crisis.”


An “opioid” is a type of narcotic derived from the opium poppy, which includes naturally-occurring drugs like morphine or codeine, as well as synthetic or partially synthetic drugs like hydrocodone (including brand names like Vicodin), oxycodone (including OxyContin and Percocet), and heroin. Hydrocodone products are the most commonly prescribed for a variety of painful conditions, including dental and injury-related pain. Morphine is often used before and after surgical procedures to alleviate severe pain. Codeine, on the other hand, is often prescribed for mild pain. The drugs’ abuse potential, over-prescribing by the medical profession, and diversion of prescription opioids from the legitimate supply chain have all contributed to the ongoing epidemic.

Click here to view the text of the legislation.

In addition to H.R. 5046, the House passed 17 bills this week to address opioid abuse:


H.R. 4063 – Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)


H.R. 4985 – Kingpin Designation Improvement Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Foreign Affairs Committee)


S. 32 – Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein / Judiciary Committee)


H.R. 5048 – Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Frank Guinta / Judiciary Committee)


H.R. 5052 – OPEN Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy / Judiciary Committee)


H.R. 4843 – Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act (Sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta / Education and the Workforce Committee)


H.R. 4978 – NAS Healthy Babies Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Evan Jenkins / Energy and Commerce Committee)


H.R. 3680 – Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes / Energy and Commerce Committee)


H.R. 3691 – Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan / Energy and Commerce Committee)


H.R. 1818 – Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger / Energy and Commerce Committee)


H.R. 4969 – John Thomas Decker Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Pat Meehan / Energy and Commerce Committee)


H.R. 4586 – Lali’s Law (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Dold / Energy and Commerce Committee)


H.R. 4599 – Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Katherine Clark / Energy and Commerce Committee)


H.R. 4976 – Opioid Review Modernization Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney / Energy and Commerce Committee)


H.R. 4982 – Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Foster / Energy and Commerce Committee)


H.R. 4981 – Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Larry Bucshon / Energy and Commerce Committee)


H.R. 4641 – To provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Susan Brooks / Energy and Commerce Committee)