Week of May 10-13, 2016

May 13, 2016

For many weeks I have been lamenting the fact that week after week the House has passed pure partisan messaging bills. This week is a change. The House considered and passed two bipartisan bills to address the opioid abuse crisis in this country. The first one is H.R. 4641 “To provides 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”. I think the name pretty much describes this one.

The second bill is H.R. 5046 “Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016”. Again the name is descriptive.

Both bills are bipartisan and both are needed. The only problem is that although the bills have good intent and should result in good policy, neither provide the resources that would be required to do the job. So, in that sense, they sound good, but don’t go the distance. In other words, they are not pure messaging bills, but are definitely pushed through so members can claim to be doing something and acting in a bipartisan way, but don’t accomplish much.

This is important because there is a real crisis in the United States with abuse of opioid drugs and overdose deaths from these drugs are an all-time high and increasing. We need to take a serious approach to this crisis and to the war on drugs in general.