WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, November 17th, 2020, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2466, the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act of 2020, H.R. 2281, the Easy MAT for Opioid Addiction Act, and H.R. 3878, the Block, Report, and Suspend Shipments Act of 2020. These proposals are part of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force’s 2020 Legislative Agenda, which was unveiled in February. The bills authorize grants to states and tribal organizations to increase access to prevention, treatment, and recovery for opioid use disorder, revise regulations to allow practitioners to more easily treat patients dealing with acute withdrawal symptoms, and require drug manufacturers and distributors to stop suspicious shipments of controlled substances. 

“Pennsylvania has been overwhelmed by the opioid epidemic, and we need to work together to ensure that more Americans can receive life-saving care,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force. “All three of these bills were key parts of the Task Force’s 2020 Legislative Agenda and will help those struggling with addiction and make it easier for patients to receive treatment. Our constituents need treatment for addiction, and I will continue to fight on their behalf.”

“During the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen the need for increased efforts to address the substance misuse and opioid epidemic,” said Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02), founder and Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force. “As the founder and Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force, I’ve focused on bringing together Republicans and Democrats to drive congressional action to respond to the substance abuse crisis that has devastated communities in New Hampshire and across the country. Today’s passage of these bills from our Task Force’s agenda will help ensure those who are struggling with addiction can get the care and support they need and prevent the distribution of illicit narcotics. I urge the Senate to act immediately on these important measures, and I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to combat this epidemic and keep Americans safe.”

“As America continues to battle a public health crisis and economic crisis, the opioid epidemic continues to claim American lives every day,” said Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Vice-Chair of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force. “Addiction has impacted far too many families, and these bills will help combat the opioid epidemic by providing states with resources to fund new research and projects, while continuing the vital work being done to help those impacted by addiction and save lives. While we’re taking a positive step forward today, we must continue working on solutions, increasing mental health and addiction funding and safeguarding health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions because one preventable death is too many.”

The Bipartisan Opioid Task Force has been an effective driver of legislative solutions to take on the opioid epidemic. Several bills in the Task Force’s 2018 legislative agenda including the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act, the STOP Fentanyl Deaths Act, and the INTERDICT Act have been signed into law.