Bipartisan legislation has been introduced that aims at stopping the abuse of prescription pain medication while giving law enforcement the tools needed to prevent heroin use and addiction.
U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) are working on the legislation. According to Donnelly, prescription drug abuse remains a serious problem in the state and it’s going to “take coordination and partnerships on the local, state and federal levels in order to begin to combat the increasing levels of heroin and prescription drug abuse.”
The Ayotte-Donnelly bill creates an interagency task force to develop prescribing practices for pain medication that will work to ensure proper pain management for patients while preventing abuse. The task force would be required to submit a report on the pros and cons of linking the use of best prescribing practices to the renewal of licenses for prescribers and dispensers of controlled substances. The task force would take into account public comment when developing the best practices but will not have rulemaking authority.
The legislation also calls for a renewed emphasis on public awareness campaigns to address these epidemics.
The Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program will also be reauthorized which will award funds to state and local governments to support law enforcement programs; prosecution and court programs; prevention and education programs; corrections programs; drug treatment programs; planning evaluation and technology improvement programs; and crime victim and witness programs.