U.S. House passes legislation targeting opioids

Annie Kuster

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, both D-N.H., helped advance 36 pieces of legislation targeting the opioid crisis.

“The opioid epidemic doesn’t discriminate and is impacting families and communities across New Hampshire and the entire country,” Kuster said. “I’ve focused on bringing together Republicans and Democrats to recognize the importance of a comprehensive response to this crisis that expands prevention, treatment, and long-term recovery as well as law enforcement and interdiction.

“I’m encouraged that this week we’ve advanced numerous proposals that will bolster our response and help to stem the tide of the opioid epidemic.”

Kuster is the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin and Opioid Task Force, and was a co-sponsor of seven pieces of legislation that passed this week. These include the Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act, the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act, and others.

Earlier this year, Kuster introduced the Respond NOW Act, which would provide critical resources to those on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. Last month, she hosted Nashua Fire Chief Brian Rhodes in Washington, D.C. to discuss the Safe Stations program with the Task Force.

Shea-Porter said passing these 36 bills was a step forward from expanding the treatment and recovery workforce, to protecting patients recovering from substance use disorder.

“From expanding the treatment and recovery workforce, to protecting patients recovering from substance use disorder, these bills will benefit Granite Staters who are living with opioid use disorder or are in recovery,” she said.

However, Shea-Porter asserted the Trump administration and Republican members of Congress are not helping the problem. She said that with the administration’s support, Congressional Republicans sought to eliminate expanded Medicaid. A bipartisan coalition in New Hampshire just voted to keep it because leaders in the state know it’s helping thousands in the state get access to treatment services.

“It is entirely unacceptable that the administration and its cheerleaders in Congress think they can hoodwink their constituents by passing a large number of bills without funding them while they continue to do everything in their power to sabotage Americans’ health care,” Shea-Porter said.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@ nashuatelegraph.com.