Rep. Buchanan introduces opioid, critical medication bills on first day of Congress


U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) introduced 10 bills on Jan. 4, the opening day of the new Congress.

Focusing on rebuilding after the COVID-19 pandemic, two of Buchanan’s bills address the growing drug abuse problem in the U.S.

In the Veterans Overmedication and Suicide Prevention Act, legislation would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the link between opioids and the suicide rate among veterans. According to his office, veterans are twice as likely to die from overdoses of opioids as civilians are.

Co-sponsored by Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA), the bill, H.R. 67, was sent to the House Veterans’ Affairs committee.

Buchanan also introduced the Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act. That act, H.R. 70, would create a new federal office responsible for stockpiling supplies of critical medicines while encouraging companies to ramp up their manufacturing of those drugs. The bill is an effort to decrease the medical supply chain’s reliance on China and other countries.

Buchanan is co-chair of the 29-member Florida congressional delegation and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees government funding. He said he will work toward economic recovery so that people have greater job opportunities.

“2021 will be a year of recovery and rebuilding,” Buchanan said. “We need to make sure people are safe and have jobs to return to.”