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house Bill H.R. 953

Does There Need to be a Comprehensive Strategy for Addressing Opioid and Heroin Abuse?

Argument in favor

Dealing with opioid and heroin abuse requires a multi-faceted strategy — including preventive education, reforms for prescribing pain medication, and treating addiction. This bill does all that, and lays out a plan that involves stakeholders at the federal, state, and local level.

Laurie 's Opinion
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12/20/2015
All you have to know, is one woman who has lost a daughter or son to this addiction, to give you some perspective on this situation. Just one! My best friend has lost 3 of her 6 children to heroin. She should never have happened! In NYS there is little help. It is worsened by the fact that the police don't help, they use and abuse these children and young adults too. The situation is worse than most imagine........
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John's Opinion
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09/22/2015
Yes, and it needs to focus on drug addiction as a medical problem, not a legal one. End the "war on drugs" once and for all. It's not working. Why so many bills dealing with the same problem anyway?
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07/06/2016
Some form of decriminalization and regulation of heroin and other drugs is essential if we want to decrease addiction. We need to begin serious investigation of other strategies in use around the world that have shown positive results in decreasing addiction.
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Argument opposed

Opioid and heroin addiction are problems that can’t be sufficiently mitigated through the best efforts of stakeholders at the federal, state, and local level. The federal government would be better served to focus these resources on one aspect of the problem, like education.

vicratz's Opinion
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01/31/2016
Make it all legal and kill the drug lord's cash flow. Drug dealers and makers kill more people than their drugs do.
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BTSundra's Opinion
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11/09/2015
We shouldn't have to foot the bill for others' problems.
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SouthernGal's Opinion
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01/23/2016
Legalize marijuana and you'll find the opioid/heroin problem to be less of one.
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What is House Bill H.R. 953?

This bill would provide a comprehensive solution to the problem of opioid and heroin addiction by reforming prevention and law enforcement strategies, and expanding evidence-based treatment. It would expand education surrounding the prescription of pain medication and addiction to those substances, while also providing grants to numerous entities at the state and local level.


The following groups would receive grants through this legislation via the Dept. of Justice (DOJ):

  • States, local governments, and nonprofit groups to expand educational efforts to prevent abuse of opioids and heroin, understand addiction as a disease, and promote treatment and recovery;

  • Organizations that have received a grant implement community-wide strategies that address local drug crises;

  • States, local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit groups to provide a treatment alternative to incarceration for people who otherwise would be in the juvenile or criminal justice system if they have a substance abuse disorder or mental illness and are approved to participate in such a program;

  • State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to create a demonstration program to prevent overdose deaths from opioids and heroin. Additional grants would be available for providing medication assisted treatment programs, prescription medication disposal sites, and educational programs for incarcerated offenders;

  • Veterans treatment court programs could be established or expanded, as could peer to peer services for qualified veterans. Other programs that provide treatment, rehabilitation, legal, and transitional services to incarcerated veterans could also receive grants;

  • States to prepare a comprehensive plan for and implement an integrated opioid abuse response initiative. State substance abuse and criminal justice agencies could obtain funding to jointly address the use of opioids and heroin among pregnant and parenting female offenders to promote public health, family permanence, and general well-being.


An interagency task force composed of officials from the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other stakeholder groups would be established. This task force would be required to develop best practices for pain management and the prescription of pain medication. The task force would then outline a strategy for disseminating this information and provide Congress with a report.


HHS would establish a program to identify collateral consequences for people with drug convictions and in treatment for a substance abuse disorder, and whether those consequences prevent those individuals from resuming their personal and professional lives. The Dept. of Education would also be directed to remove questions about convictions for the possession or sale of illegal drugs from federal student loan applications.

Impact

People dealing with addiction to opioids or heroin, or who have been convicted of selling or possessing drugs and are in treatment; juvenile and criminal justice centers; relevant local, state, and tribal agencies; and relevant federal agencies.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 953

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) believes that the U.S. needs to take action to prevent and reduce the impact of addiction:

“Too many Americans are falling into the addiction trap. It must be addressed effectively and expeditiously. With this legislation, we have an opportunity to build on proven methods that enable law enforcement to respond to this epidemic and support long-term recovery.”

Currently, this bill has the bipartisan support of 22 lawmakers in the House, including 12 Democrats and 10 Republicans. Its Senate counterpart has 15 cosponsors, six of whom are Republicans while the remaining nine are Democrats.

Groups like the American Correctional Association, the American Psychological Association, and the DEA Educational Foundation — among others — have expressed support for this legislation.


Of Note: According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, there are 1.9 million Americans who are abusing or dependent on prescription opioids, and another 517,000 who are addicted to heroin. Based on a 2004 survey, nearly half of all federal inmates sought treatment for drug addiction while incarcerated, while the proportion of state inmates who did the same was slightly lower at 40 percent.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: "Heroin asian". Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heroin_asian.jpg#/media/File:Heroin_asian.jpg)

AKA

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015

Official Title

To authorize the Attorney General to award grants to address the national epidemics of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
      Higher Education and Workforce Investment
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Health
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedFebruary 12th, 2015
    Make it all legal and kill the drug lord's cash flow. Drug dealers and makers kill more people than their drugs do.
    Like (8)
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    We shouldn't have to foot the bill for others' problems.
    Like (5)
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    Legalize marijuana and you'll find the opioid/heroin problem to be less of one.
    Like (4)
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    People know the risks and consequences - those that choose to partake should do so at their own peril. I'm tired of the tax payer being on the hook for others' stupid choices.
    Like (3)
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    All you have to know, is one woman who has lost a daughter or son to this addiction, to give you some perspective on this situation. Just one! My best friend has lost 3 of her 6 children to heroin. She should never have happened! In NYS there is little help. It is worsened by the fact that the police don't help, they use and abuse these children and young adults too. The situation is worse than most imagine........
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes, and it needs to focus on drug addiction as a medical problem, not a legal one. End the "war on drugs" once and for all. It's not working. Why so many bills dealing with the same problem anyway?
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    Some form of decriminalization and regulation of heroin and other drugs is essential if we want to decrease addiction. We need to begin serious investigation of other strategies in use around the world that have shown positive results in decreasing addiction.
    Like (2)
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    All drugs should be decriminalized
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    Opioid and heroin addiction are problems that can’t be sufficiently mitigated through the best efforts of stakeholders at the federal, state, and local level. The federal government would be better served to focus these resources on one aspect of the problem, like education.
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    I'm all for creating a strategy for treating opioid and heroin addiction. But I think in dealing with complex issue would be better handled with a piecemeal process.
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    How about the Pentagon stops assisting opiate farmers in Afghanistan, and the cia stops importing heroin. It's not a coincidence that all the world's heroin comes from the tiny country we just had to invade.
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    Stop sending non violent drug addicts to prison, and help them instead. I am also very interested in reforming the way these things are prescribed.
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    Get it done
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    How about we fund rehabilitation centers and send users to them and have them work with psychologists to help them figure out their problems. All of that is cheaper than constantly jailing them.
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    They should start with regulating these pharmaceutical companies and doctors who are just as bad as any pusher on the street
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    Legalize cannabis
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    Without adding additional agencies to get it accomplished
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    .
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    just another failure of our war on drugs we can not give up
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    Stop turning addicts into criminals! We don't lock up cigarette smokers who cannot quit. Addiction is a medical problem.
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