LANGHORNE, PA – Legislation authored by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) has been included in the interim report of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The interim report includes legislative actions supported by Fitzpatrick, which would extend coverage for drug treatment and prevent fentanyl from crossing U.S. borders.
“Our nation’s drug epidemic is a complicated issue and our response must be multi-faceted; that means disrupting the flow of drugs while also increasing the accessibility and affordability for prevention, education, treatment, and recovery of this disease.” said Fitzpatrick. “I’m grateful for the Commission’s preliminary report and look forward to working with them to combat this national crisis,”
The Commission’s preliminary proposals included the following action items, closely aligning with Fitzpatrick’s legislation:
- Rapidly increase treatment capacity. Grant waiver approvals for all 50 states to quickly eliminate barriers to treatment resulting from the federal Institutes for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion within the Medicaid program. This will immediately open treatment to thousands of Americans in existing facilities in all 50 states.
In June, Fitzpatrick, vice chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, introduced The Road to Recovery Act [H.R. 2938], bipartisan legislation elimination the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion for substance use disorder and help states expand access to inpatient treatment for its enrollees.
- Prioritize funding and manpower to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection, the DOJ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the DEA to quickly develop fentanyl detection sensors and disseminate them to federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Support federal legislation to staunch the flow of deadly synthetic opioids through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
In April, Fitzpatrick, along with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-03), introduced the INTERDICT Act [H.R. 2142], which would provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the latest in chemical screening devices and scientific support to detect and intercept fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Additionally, in March, Fitzpatrick co-sponsored the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act [H.R. 1057], which would require vital security data on all packaged shipped through the mail from abroad.
On March 29, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order establishing the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The Commission is chaired by Governor Chris Christie and is studying ways to combat and treat the scourge of drug abuse, addiction, and the opioid crisis, which was responsible for more than 50,000 deaths in 2015 and has caused families and communities across America to endure significant pain and suffering. Other Commission members include Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, and Professor Bertha Madras, Ph.D.
"This is an epidemic that knows no boundaries and shows no mercy, and we will show great compassion and resolve as we work together on this important issue,” said President Trump.