Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty

Representing the 5th District of Connecticut


Esty Introduces Bill to Prevent Opioid Addiction

March 3, 2016
Press Release

As Senate Votes on Legislation Addressing Addiction Treatment and Recovery, Esty Bill Fights Epidemic with Addiction Prevention

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) today introduced the Prevent Drug Addiction Act of 2016. The Prevent Act would fight the opioid and heroin epidemic gripping communities throughout Connecticut and the nation by focusing on prevention.

The Senate is voting this week on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, a bill cosponsored by Esty that addresses drug addiction by providing badly needed resources for treatment and recovery programs. The Prevent Act complements that effort by focusing resources on addiction prevention strategies including a consumer education campaign, training for medical practitioners on best practices when prescribing opioids, and a new management program specifically for Medicare beneficiaries who are at risk of prescription-drug addiction.

The Prevent Act is cosponsored by Reps. Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Steve Knight (R-CA), who along with Esty are members of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic.

“In cities and towns throughout central and northwest Connecticut, families have shared with me devastating stories of confronting opioid addiction,” Esty said. “We absolutely must take steps to ensure families impacted by this epidemic have access to the treatment services they need to recover and move forward. But treating this epidemic isn’t enough. To halt the terrible impact that drug addiction is having on our communities, we must also work to prevent folks from becoming addicted in the first place.”

“The fight to address the complex circumstances which lead to the opiate epidemic in our nation will require a complex, comprehensive and multi-tiered set of strategies,” said Shawn M. Lang, the head of Connecticut’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Workgroup. “Congresswoman Esty’s proposed legislation will go a long way in making that happen. This is the kind of leadership we need to make headway in saving lives, and preventing the chronic disease of addiction.”

“I am very grateful to Congresswoman Esty for her partnership with treatment professionals to combat this public health crisis facing our nation,” said Maria Coutant Skinner, the Chair of the Litchfield County Heroin Task Force. “By preventing even more people from developing dependence on opioids I am hopeful that we can stem the tide of tragedy that is affecting millions of American families. The measures cited in this bill will put effective preventative strategies in place in our health care system.”

“I truly appreciate the Congresswomen’s dedication and responsiveness to the largest public health issue we have in our country today – opiate addiction,” said Joy N. Pendola, a member of the Litchfield County Heroin Task Force and Charlotte Hungerford Hospital Physician. “She has spent the past few years listening to providers, families, and those suffering from addiction and is presenting a comprehensive, thoughtful and compassionate bill to Congress”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Specifically, the Prevent Act would:

•    Help states and non-profits conduct culturally sensitive consumer education about opioid addiction, with priority given to communities with high incidence of addiction and addiction-related deaths;

•    Strengthen training requirements for medical practitioners eligible to prescribe opioids or participate in opioid treatment programs to include additional training on pain management treatment guidelines, early detection of opioid addiction, and the treatment of opioid-dependent patients;

•    Require opioid treatment programs to make acceptable arrangements for patients to receive needed medications on days when the program is closed for business to reduce the risk of relapse for patients in recovery;

•    Strengthen opioid overdose and mortality reporting requirements and create a National Opioid Death Registry housed in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);

•    Require HHS to establish and disseminate prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment quality measures for all relevant health care provider settings; and

•    Create a new drug management program under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to prevent high-risk Medicare beneficiaries from becoming addicted to prescription drugs.

Esty serves in Congress on the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic. In that role she has championed several bills to combat the growing opioid addiction epidemic, including the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (H.R. 953), the Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act (H.R. 2536), the Expanding Opportunities for Recovery Act (H.R. 3676), and the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Energy Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 4447), authored by Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-2).

The full text of the Prevent Act is attached to this release.