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WASHINGTON, D.C.–The federal government has done a great deal of talking amongst bureaucrats about the opioid crisis. The U.S. Dept. of Justice hosted the first national Opioid Summit, Thursday, talking even more, but offering the suggestion of some solutions, as well.

One of those suggestions is continuing to fine doctors who over prescribe. For every illegal prescription, the feds could fine the doctor $62,500. 

You can view the summit here

“Our shared work of fighting drug crime has never been more important than now,” said U.S. Atty. Jeff Sessions. “This is the deadliest drug crisis ever in our nation’s existence. We’ve not seen anything like it.”

It’s been deadly for Indiana, as well as the rest of the country. The CDC estimates over 1,800 Hoosiers died from ODs, with over 70,000 deaths across the country last year.

“Highest death total in history by far,” said Sessions. “Nothing like it we’ve seen.” Two panels offered testimony, one about treatment and the other about enforcing laws that are already on the books that make opioids illegal without a prescription and that make it tough on doctors who prescribe them illegally.

Earlier this week in DC, several laws that were written or sponsored by senators Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), were signed into law by Pres. Trump. One of those laws is the Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management Improvement Act, named for the South Bend doctor shot and killed at his Mishawaka clinic last year, because he refused to prescribe pain pills for an ailment that did not call for it.

The bill will fund research on painkillers that are not addictive.

Other provisions sponsored by Indiana’s senators or representatives that were signed by the president:

  • The Eliminating Opioid-Related Infectious Diseases Act of 2018 (S.2579), which aims to prevent and respond to infections commonly associated with injection drug use, including viral hepatitis and HIV. This legislation will support state and federal efforts to collect data on such infections and identify and assist patients who may be at increased risk of infection.
  • The Providing Clarity in the Development of Pain Treatments Act (S. 2665), which aims to help bring non-opioid or non-addictive pain medications and treatments to patients more quickly.
  • The Advancing Cutting-Edge (ACE) Research Act (S.2406), which provides the National Institutes of Health new authorities to conduct research on innovative, non-addictive pain medications.
  • The Advancing Innovation in Alternative Pain and Addiction Therapies Act (S.2669), which clarifies the Accelerated Approval Process at FDA to bring novel, non-addictive drugs and treatments to market more quickly.
  • The Jobs Plus Recovery Act (S. 2642), which incorporates job training into drug addiction recovery programs. The bipartisan legislation would establish a pilot program that gives individuals impacted by opioid addiction or substance use disorders access to job training and support services to aid in their recovery and lower their likelihood of relapse.

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