Buchanan Opioid Bill Passes Senate

Todays News


The U.S. Senate yesterday voted to create a national database for opioid use, a measure originally included in a House bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota. 

“It’s encouraging to read today in USA Today that nearly 70 percent of physicians are prescribing fewer pain medications in light of the opioid crisis,” Buchanan says. “I hope my legislation gives doctors and patients the information they need to continue this positive trend.”

Buchanan introduced the Centralized Opioid Guidance Act in May with co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pennsylvania. The bill was included in a conference report combining legislation from the House and Senate, including Buchanan's bill.

Buchanan represents a district that’s been particularly hard-hit by the opioid crisis, and has worked for the past two years on legislation in Washington while lawmakers like state Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, tackled the effort in Tallahassee.

Manatee County remains one of the worst impacted communities in the state, with 984 heroin overdoses in 2016 and 2,504 reported Narcan and Naxolone doses, according to the Florida Behavioral Health Association. The county experienced 126 opioid deaths in 2015, and saw a 174-percent jump in deaths between 2012 and 2015.

When Buchanan first unveiled this legislation, he noted that drug overdoses now count as the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.

The new legislation, if signed into law by President Trump, will require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to create a widely available resource guide with prescribing guidelines for the potentially life-threatening drugs. The move previously won recommendation by the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. 

Local healthcare providers said the new database should help patients and physicians alike important information on best practices for opioid use. 

“Currently, it is difficult and time-consuming to access trusted federal opioid prescribing guidelines,” says Centerstone Florida CEO Melissa Larkin-Skinner. “In requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to post all relevant opioid prescribing guidelines in one online space, more patients and providers will be able to quickly seek out and reference the most up-to-date and trusted opioid prescribing guidelines. We trust this will make a difference not only for the Medicare population, but for all those seeking access to life-changing information."

Graphic courtesy Florida Behavioral Health Association: Manatee County deaths from opioid overdoses increased substantially this decade.

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