Reps. McKinley, Blunt Rochester introduce legislation to combat opioid addiction

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U.S. Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) announced Tuesday that they had introduced legislation that would help those suffering from addiction or mental illness access treatment via the states’ prescription drug monitoring programs.

The PDMP Help Patients Act would utilize states’ Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) to link patients to treatment, the legislators said. PDMPs are databases that track and record controlled substance prescriptions and allow health care providers to check and make sure a patient doesn’t already have an opioid or controlled substance prescription if they need to prescribe one.

The PDMP Help Patients Act would create a pilot program that would integrate substance use disorder and behavioral health treatment locator tools into the PDMP. Health care providers could use the tool to provide their patients with resources if the PDMP indicates a possibility the patient is misusing their prescriptions, ensuring that those receiving opioid prescriptions have access to mental health and substance abuse treatment if needed.

“The COVID -19 pandemic has only further fueled our nation’s opioid epidemic,” McKinley said. “Now more than ever, we should be equipping providers and patients with every resource possible to provide those with substance abuse and mental health disorders the help they need. I am pleased to continue this critical work with Rep. Blunt Rochester to help combat the opioid epidemic.”

McKinley and Blunt Rochester also introduced the legislation in the previous Congressional session.

“Delaware’s overdose epidemic may have taken more lives in 2020 than any year before. Prescription drug monitoring programs are a critical tool in combatting the on-going overdose epidemic, and I’m proud to join my colleague, Congressman McKinley, in helping states enhance their effectiveness, so patients in need are immediately connected to treatment,” Blunt Rochester said.

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