Murray Praises Bipartisan Deal on Opioids Response Legislation

Package includes over 70 proposals from five Senate committees


Washington, D.C. – Last week, the Senate agreed to vote on the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 (OCRA)—a bipartisan package of over 70 proposals recommended to the full Senate by five committees: Health, Finance, Judiciary, Commerce and Banking—this week.


Senator Patty Murray, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on the agreement:


“The communities and families on the frontlines of the opioid crisis want serious action to address the full range of challenges they face, and by taking ideas from all sides of the aisle and focusing on the root causes and ripple effects of the opioid epidemic, the bill we are working on offers a strong step in that direction. I’m glad so many members were able to come together to find so many common sense solutions to help our families and those across the country impacted by the battle with opioid addiction. We have agreed on a bipartisan basis to quickly make additional changes that will move the package forward, and I look forward to getting these steps signed into law.”


The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 will:


Reduce Use and Supply.

The legislation includes the STOP Act which will help stop illegal drugs at the border, as well as provisions that provide flexible grants for states to better share Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs data, clarify FDA authority to require set packaging for prescription opioids, such as a 3 or 7 day supply in a blister pack, and fight opioid diversion.


Encourage Recovery.

The legislation includes provisions to support states and Indian tribes in addressing substance use disorders, establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers, expand access to medication-assisted treatment, and improve community support, access to health professionals, tele-health services and long-distance care, and recovery housing services.


Support Caregivers and Families.

The legislation includes provisions to improve plans of safe care and support for substance-exposed babies and their mothers, promote family-focused treatment and recovery, help youth with substance use disorders recover, and strengthen trauma-informed care and support in schools and early childhood education programs.


Drive Innovation and Long-Term Solutions.

The legislation includes provisions to advance cutting-edge research to spur discovery and development of new non-addictive painkillers, address economic and workforce impacts of the opioid crisis, ensure parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits, and improve pain management.


The bipartisan agreement to move OCRA forward in the Senate also includes a bipartisan understanding about important changes that will be made as it moves through the process and before it gets signed into law.


A version reflecting the agreement and the changes to be made to the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 as it moves forward can be found HERE: