Senate Approves Balanced Opioid Package

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Bill Addresses Abuse While Preserving Access for Seriously Ill Patients

Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act with strong bipartisan support. The legislation builds off a similar opioid package passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year and includes key provisions that encourage the development and use of non-opioid medications; improves federal support of state run prescription drug monitoring programs; increases innovative research on pain treatment; encourages the safe disposal of unused opioid medications by medical professionals and hospice workers; and requires the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to conduct a study on the effects of federal and state opioid prescribing limits on patients.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is supportive of many of the provisions adopted in the Senate bill and continues to call for balanced solutions that won’t erect unintended barriers to appropriate pain care for cancer patients and survivors living with chronic conditions.

A statement from Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN, follows:

“We commend the Senate for advancing thoughtful legislation that addresses the very serious public health crisis that has arisen from the misuse and abuse of opioids. The Opioid Crisis Response Act is a promising step forward as Congress works to bolster research efforts focused on the development of non-addictive pain treatments and strengthen state-run programs aimed at reining in the abuse of opioids.

“ACS CAN continues to advocate for a balanced approach to addressing the opioid abuse epidemic that won’t create unintended consequences for cancer patients and survivors who rely on prescription medications to maintain their quality of life during and after treatment.

“We urge the Senate and House to quickly work out the differences in their respective bills and help accelerate progress against this serious public health problem.”

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