Multiple Thune-Authored Provisions Included in Crucial Legislation to Combat Opioid Crisis

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today issued the following statement after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, which contains proposals from five Senate committees, including Thune-authored bills that were previously adopted by the Commerce Committee or Finance Committee. The Senate bill must now be reconciled with House-passed legislation before it can be sent to the president for his signature.

“The opioid crisis is a nationwide epidemic that needs to be fought on all fronts, which means Congress has a critical role to play in providing important tools to communities that are facing this issue head-on,” said Thune. “I’m proud of the collective effort that senators from both sides of the aisle have dedicated to finding common ground to expand both treatment and prevention activities. Today this bill is one step closer to the president’s desk, and we are one step closer to providing much-needed assistance to those who need it the most. I hope my colleagues in the House will consider this important piece of legislation without delay.”

Thune-Authored Provisions:

  • The Expanding Telehealth Response to Ensure Addiction Treatment (e-TREAT) Act (S. 2901), bipartisan legislation that would increase access to substance use disorder treatment through telehealth technology under Medicare. Thune has long advocated for the use of telehealth as a means to increase access to health care services in rural communities, like those throughout South Dakota (approved by the Finance Committee).
  • The Fighting Opioid Abuse in Transportation Act (S. 2848), which would close a safety gap in railroad drug and alcohol testing regulations by expanding testing requirements to both rail mechanical employees and yardmasters. It also addresses a major on-going drug abuse issue by requiring that the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Transportation include fentanyl in the drug-testing panel, subject to findings on available testing (approved by the Commerce Committee)

Thune-Supported Provision, Approved by Thune-Led Commerce Committee:

  • The Opioid Addiction Recovery Fraud Prevention Act of 2018 (S. 2842), which is sponsored by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), would clarify and reaffirm the power of the Federal Trade Commission to bring enforcement actions against opioid treatment scams, including deceptive treatment claims and bogus products. It would also protect individuals with opioid use disorder and their families from harmful and misleading addiction treatment programs or products.
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