Senator Hatch and Speaker Ryan Sign Bill to Combat Opioid Abuse [UPH Wire]

Daniel Burton
Cell: 801-358-3613

Media Contact:
J.P. Freire: (202) 228-0210
Matt Whitlock: (202) 224-4511

*Senator Hatch and Speaker Ryan Sign Bill to Combat Opioid Abuse*

Washington, D.C.—Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., signed critical legislation this morning
to address the prescription painkiller and heroin abuse epidemic sweeping
the country. The bill, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act,
recently passed in the House and Senate, and included several provisions
with a direct impact on Utah championed by Senator Hatch.
*Senator Hatch signed the bill alongside Speaker Ryan this morning. *
*You can find video of the signing ceremony
During a meeting last week where House and Senate negotiators worked on the
bill, Senator Hatch described the effect opioid addiction has had on Utah.
He said, “This is an epidemic that is devastating individuals, families,
and communities across the country. My home state of Utah has been
particularly hard hit. In 2014 alone, 289 Utahns died due to opioid abuse,
which was more than half of all drug-overdose related deaths in the state
for that year.”

Among the provisions championed by Senator Hatch are important measures
that allow Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to work with at-risk
beneficiaries to identify only one physician to prescribe, and one pharmacy
to fill, all of a patient’s opioid prescriptions. This is a commonsense
step that will improve patient care and reduce abuse, while also increasing
the likelihood that beneficiaries with a problem will get the help they
need. Additionally, the conference report contains significant provisions
to improve access to medication-assisted treatment to help patients succeed
in their battle against substance use disorders.

Senator Hatch also was influential in including provisions that encourage
the National Institutes of Health to intensify fundamental, translational,
and clinical research on the understanding of pain. This kind of research
will lead to alternatives to opioids for effective pain treatment.
Furthermore, Senator Hatch won inclusion of provisions to protect infants
born to mothers suffering from opioid addiction. A recent Utah Health
Status Update indicated that, between 2009 and 2012, more than 100 babies
each year tested positive for illicit drugs at birth. Once enacted, this
legislation will strengthen the existing plan of safe care for infants
affected by substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms, as well as Fetal
Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

To view a copy of the Joint Explanatory Statement of the conference
committee, click here .

*Senator Hatch recently spoke on the floor about Utah’s opioid epidemic and
urged his colleagues to support this bill *

*Key Utahns Praise Hatch’s Efforts*

*President Brandon Jones and President-Elect Kim McFarlane, Utah Academy of
Physician Assistants: *
*The Utah Academy of PAs applauds Sen Hatch and his colleagues for passing
this legislation, which will expand access to critically important
medication-assisted treatment options for patients struggling with
addiction and their families, especially those in medically underserved
communities in rural states like Utah. Sen. Hatch has been a leader in the
fight to end opioid addiction since the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of
2000 was passed nearly 2 decades ago, and his leadership today will allow
PAs to be better utilized in the treatment of patients struggling with
opioid addiction. The Utah Academy is grateful for his long-time support of
PAs and the patients we serve in communities across our state.*

*Jan Favero Chambers, President and Founder, National Fibromyalgia &
Chronic Pain Association*

*The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 has authorization for
significant improvement in pain management and addiction to heroin and
prescription opioids in Utah. Expansion of research, education, and
prevention are the best ways forward to help Utahns. It is unacceptable for
Utah to be ranked 5th in the nation for drug poisoning deaths; at the same
time, there is a moral imperative to treat the 1 in 9 Utahns with
life-altering, chronic pain conditions. Utah healthcare and elected leaders
can rise to meet the challenges together and become the nation’s leader in
effective,non-opioid complementary pain treatments and addiction recovery.*

*Cindy Elliott, Utahn Impacted by Opioids*

*I cannot possibly describe what passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and
Recovery Act (CARA) means to my family and me. As a person who has been in
recovery for almost six years, I can attest to the challenges that I face
daily in the fight to maintain sobriety, as well as the impact that
generations of addiction has had on my family. My father committed suicide
almost five years ago because he could not withstand the stigma and
struggle associated with this disease. While I was in treatment, I watched
individuals 20 years younger than myself fight and lose their battles with
opioid addiction. Today, I commend Members of Congress and my Senator Orrin
Hatch of Utah, for working diligently to ensure that addiction is treated
as a disease. I have hope that CARA and future legislation will prevent
families from experiencing tragedies similar to those that mine has to


*J.P. Freire*
*Director of Communications*
Office of Senator Orrin Hatch
(202) 228-0210—Office
(202) 596-5653—Mobile

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