Congress continues measures to address the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic. Yesterday, during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Hearing on Oversight of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), senior member and former chairman of the Committee Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) asked DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg what the DEA is doing to implement NACDS-backed legislation, S. 483, the Ensuring Patient Access and Drug Enforcement Act, which was signed into law on April 19, 2016.

 The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Hatch, would increase collaboration among health and enforcement authorities to achieve drug abuse solutions that maintain patients’ legitimate access to medications. Rosenbery said work on implementing the legislation is ongoing.

In another development, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced S. 3075, the Addiction Prevention and Responsible Opioid Practices Act on June 16. The legislation includes a wide-ranging group of initiatives to reduce the amount of pain medications on the market, and improve prescribing practices. It includes a provision to implement a national drug disposal program, but does not mandate pharmacy participation.  The legislation would also encourage improvements to prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), but does not require pharmacy consultation of a PDMP for controlled substances.

In advance of the introduction of the legislation, NACDS met with Sen. Durbin’s staff to express concerns about mandatory take back programs, and requiring pharmacists to consult PDMPs. NACDS believes pharmacists should use their professional judgment in this regard.