Sarbanes Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic Signed Into Law

Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act Will Expand Access to Overdose Reversal Drugs
July 25, 2016
CONTACT: Daniel Jacobs
(202) 225-4016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama signed into law a series of bills designed to address the nation’s opioid epidemic, including the Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act (H.R. 3680), a bill authored by Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) to expand access to life-saving overdose reversal drugs, like Naloxone, by encouraging health care providers to prescribe them alongside common pain medication.

Co-prescription programs are proven ways to slow the growth of overdose deaths. For example, the Veterans Health Administration distributes Naloxone to all veterans being treated for a substance use disorder or to those who take high doses of opiates. This method has successfully reduced opioid overdose deaths among veterans. The Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act would enable more health care providers across the country to implement these kinds of effective co-prescription programs.

“Congress is committed to solving our nation’s opioid abuse crisis, and this package of bills is an important step forward in that effort,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who served on the conference committee appointed to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of opioid abuse bills. “Moving forward, I will continue working with my House and Senate colleagues to provide more resources to families, communities and providers in Maryland and across the country who are working to combat this epidemic.”

For more information about the package of bills, see here.