The Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis has submitted an interim report to President Donald Trump with legislation authored by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick.
The language supported by Fitzpatrick includes an extension for drug treatment coverage and increase U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) control to detect fentanyl in packages.
Fitzpatrick introduced the Road to Recovery Act, a bipartisan effort to eliminate Medicaid Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) from excluding substance use disorder in their requirements. This Act and added proposal in the report would help states allow more enrollees in treatment programs and facilities.
The INDERDICT Act would provide specialized chemical screening devices and support to detect fentanyl and other synthetic opioids from crossing borders. Additionally, Fitzpatrick co-sponsored the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act that would require security data on all abroad packages shipping through the mail.
The Commission wrote in the report that additional funds should be provided to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection, the DOJ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to properly halt the transportation of deadly synthetic opioids through the U.S. Postal Service.
“This is an epidemic that knows no boundaries and shows no mercy,” Trump said in a White House statement, “and we will show great compassion and resolve as we work together on this important issue.”
The Commission, led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, was established in March and urges the President to declare a national emergency under the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act in the interim report.
The Commission presents serious data. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 142 Americans are dying every day from a drug related overdose. In 2015, the number of opioids prescribed in the U.S. could medicate every American for 24-hours for three weeks.
“Our nation’s drug epidemic is a complicated issue and our response must be multi-faceted,” Fitzpatrick wrote, “that means disrupting the flow of drugs while also increasing the accessibility and affordability for prevention, education, treatment and recovery for the disease.”
The Commission’s report bullets eight major proposals officials including prescribing naloxone along with opioid prescriptions, mandate medical education training in opioid risks, and provide federal funding for interstate data sharing with prescription information.
The final report from the Commission must be submitted by October 1 then the group will be terminated. If necessary, Chairman Christie may request an extension to President Trump.