The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee held a hearing on Monday to examine solutions to the rising trend in opioid abuse and overdose deaths in the U.S. Witnesses included Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen, M.D.; Robert Valuck, a professor at the University of Colorado’s Scaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which houses the state’s Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention; and Eric Spofford, CEO of two substance abuse treatment programs in New Hampshire. The committee discussed a variety of measures including: expanding naloxone access, eliminating reimbursement and utilization review hurdles to inpatient addiction treatment, and stemming the tide of fentanyl currently finding its way into batches of heroin around the country (and spiking overdose risk in unsuspecting addicts). Senator Cassidy (R-La.) asked the witnesses several questions about potential legislative solutions to the disconnect between different state prescription drug monitoring databases, an issue for states like ours and in New England, in which crossing state lines to seek out multiple providers is a common problem.
Watch the hearing here.