This Week in Congress: It's Opioid Week!

The House is in session Tuesday through Friday this week. As the title of this blog suggests, the House will address legislation dealing with the "opioid crisis."

The major opioid  legislation the House will consider this week is H.R. 4641 and H.R. 5046. H.R. 4641 is a House version of Senate legislation establishing "best practices" for pain medicine. You can read my critique of "best practices" legislation here.

H.R. 5046, the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act, establishes a new federal grant programs for states to create new treatment programs, including alternatives to incarceration, for opioid addiction.

Finding alternatives to incarceration is a worthy goal, but how is it the Federal Government's role to fund it? And also where do we get the money? Seems like the biggest addiction problem in the United States is Congress' addiction to creating new programs and spending our money.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the House will also consider several bills on suspension of the rules, including several dealing with opioids:

1. Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdose Act (H.R. 3680) -- creates yet another grant program. This one is for opioid overdose reversal drugs.

2. H.R. 4969 -- This bill authorizes the Center for Disease Control to provide informational materials on the dangers of opioid abuse to injured student athletes.

3. H.R. 4586 -- This bills creates a ... wait for it ... wait for it ... federal grant program for education health professionals to dispense  opioid addiction reversal medication without "person specific prescription."

4. H.R. 4976 -- This bill requires the FDA to refer petitions of approval of a new opioid drug to an advisory committee, thus slowing down even further the approval process for new pain medicines.

5. H.R. 4981 -- This bill amends federal law to make it easier to access opioid addiction treatment medicine, so it may actually be worthwhile.

6. H.R. 4063 -- Requires the VA and Defense Department to update their guidelines for opioid treatment. This may be troublesome since one common overreaction to opioid hysteria is to make pain management less effective. And pain treatment is important in treating wounded soldiers and vets.

7. Good Samaritan Assessment Act (H.R. 5048) -- This act directs the General Accountability Office (GAO) to study the effectiveness of the federal government's promotion of Good Samaritan laws. These laws protect emergency and medical personal who provide assistance in an overdose case with liability protection. This may be a good idea but it is not an issue for the federal government.

This week's suspension calendar also contains the following legislation that might be of interest to Campaign for Liberty members:

1. The Kingpin Designation Improvement Act (H.R. 4985) -- This bill allows courts to see classified evidence the government is relying on in charging a foreigner with being a drug kingpin. It does not require the government to submit the evidence and does not appear to give the accused any right to see the evidence.

2. Federal Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Protection Act (H.R. 2137) -- Allows federal law enforcement officers on furlough to carry firearms as if they were on duty. OK, I guess, but it would be better if Congress repealed laws preventing anyone from carrying firearms.

3. H.R. 4599 -- Amends federal regulations to make it easier to fully fill partially filled prescriptions. Good idea, but the fact that a law needs to be passed to do this shows the folly of having so much of our health care controlled by federal regulations.

The Senate comes in today and will resume work on Energy and Water Appropriations. Senate Democrats are filibustering the bill over an amendment by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) relating to selling "heavy water" to Iran.

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