This bill aims to stop opioid and heroin addictions by reforming law enforcement strategies, reassessing prevention tactics, and expanding evidence-based treatment. It would develop education programs about prescription pain medications and addictions to them. It would also offer grants to state and local level organizations with similar goals.
Under this bill, the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) would be directed to offer grants to:
States, local governments, and nonprofit groups that understand addiction as a disease, work to prevent opioid and heroin abuse through education, and promote treatment and recovery;
Organizations that have worked on community-wide strategies to address local drug crises;
States, local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit groups that offer treatment alternatives to incarceration for people who would otherwise be in the juvenile or criminal justice system;
State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies that try to prevent overdoses through demonstration programs. Additional grants would be available for providing medication assisted treatment programs, prescription medication disposal sites, and educational programs for incarcerated offenders;
Veteran treatment court programs and their 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 interested in preparing a comprehensive plan for and implementing an integrated opioid abuse response initiative. State substance abuse and criminal justice agencies could get 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 would be established, made up 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. This task force would 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 report to Congress.
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.