On the second anniversary of the passage of the SUPPORT for Patients and Community Act, U.S. Representative David B. McKinley (R-WV) urged fellow legislators not to overlook the opioid crisis facing the country during the Covid-19 epidemic.
On Friday, McKinley said that Congress must continue to act to help Americans and American families in crisis.
“Two years ago, Congress showed we could work together across party lines to address a significant national emergency – the opioid crisis,” McKinley said. “However, we should not rest on our laurels. There is still more that can be done. Too many families are still being torn apart by the horrors of opioid addiction.”
McKinley said the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the opioid crisis and that Congress should include more funding for states to address opioid use disorder treatment and prevention.
“While Congress and the public are rightfully focused on addressing the public health and economic challenges we face due to COVID-19, we can’t forget the families struggling with addiction,” McKinley said. “The opioid epidemic has not gone away. In fact, across the country, overdose deaths have only increased.”
McKinley has introduced two bills to address the opioid crisis: the Block, Report and Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act, which would require drug manufacturers and distributors to report and stop any suspicious drug orders; and the TREATS Act, which would make permanent key waivers for telehealth flexibilities, including the ability to prescribe medication-assisted therapies and other necessary drugs without a prior in-person visit, and the ability to bill Medicare for an audio-only telehealth visit.
“Our team is continuing to fight for more funding for West Virginia and working on new legislation to improve access to treatment and prevent drug companies from pill dumping in the future,” added McKinley. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time. Congress must place a priority on addressing this crisis.”