10.03.18

Senator Murray Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Address the Root Causes and Ripple Effects of Opioid Crisis

Senator Murray cheers passage of sweeping package to tackle growing opioid epidemic, bill on track to be signed into law

 

Package includes legislation Senator Murray championed in Senate HELP Committee

 

In her remarks Senator Murray spoke about the challenges she heard from families in Washington state and provisions in the opioid package to help address them

 

Senator Murray: “Of course while this is an important bill and an impactful step forward, it is not a final step by any means. The opioid crisis is ongoing, and our efforts to address it must be as well. So I’m going to keep listening to people in Washington state about what they need to respond to this crisis, and working with my colleagues here in Washington D.C. to provide resources and solutions that can help make a difference.”

  

***Video of Senator Murray’s speech available HERE***

 

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, spoke on the Senate floor ahead of the passage of new legislation to address opioid crisis. Murray applauded the package of solutions which were developed over several months of work from Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate to address the root causes and ripple effects of the growing epidemic. The bill passed the Senate 98-to-1, and will now go to the President to be signed into law.

 

“Earlier this year I heard from an elementary school principal in Washington state about how the opioid crisis was hurting the kids in his school. Students at his school were having trouble focusing in class as they dealt with the trauma of a family member’s substance use at home. And some teachers were having trouble understanding how best to help these students with their trauma. I also heard from the staff at a hospital about how they deliver many babies to mothers struggling with opioid addiction. Many are born with neo-natal abstinence syndrome—battling the symptoms of withdrawal. And I’ve heard from countless other families across Washington state about how the opioid crisis has impacted their loved ones. Our communities have been crying out for action to address the root causes and ripple effects of the opioid crisis that has caused so much heartbreak for so many people—and today we’re taking an important step to answering that call,” Senator Murray said prior to the bill’s passage.

 

Senator Murray continued, highlighting the need for continued vigilance from lawmakers and other stakeholders to help bring an end to the opioid epidemic: “I’m glad we could include so many voices in this discussion, and that it led to a bill that offers so many ideas to address the different angles of this crisis. And I look forward to seeing this bill become law so that it can start helping families and communities as we work to reach everyone impacted by this nationwide fight against opioid use disorder. Of course while this is an important bill and an impactful step forward, it is not a final step by any means.”

 

She also highlighted provisions to strengthen federal investments for training to help out-of-work individuals, increase support for state efforts to help pregnant women and infants impacted by opioid misuse, expand access to treatment services, support trauma-informed care programs, clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to help address opioid packaging and disposal, provide more support and flexibility to states to help tribal communities and others address the most pressing problems associated with substance use disorders, and more.

 

As the top Democrat on the Senate HELP Committee, Senator Murray has worked at length to help find federal solutions to the growing opioid epidemic in Washington state and nationwide, and was an early champion of the legislation passed today.

 

Watch video of Senator Murray’s floor speech HERE.

 

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech below.

 

“Thank you M. President.

 

“Earlier this year I heard from an elementary school principal in Washington state about how the opioid crisis was hurting the kids in his school.

 

“Students at his school were having trouble focusing in class as they dealt with the trauma of a family member’s substance use at home. And some teachers were having trouble understanding how best to help these students with their trauma.

 

“I also heard from the staff at a hospital about how they deliver many babies to mothers struggling with opioid addiction. Many are born with neo-natal abstinence syndrome—battling the symptoms of withdrawal.

“And I’ve heard from countless other families across Washington state about how the opioid crisis has impacted their loved ones.

“Our communities have been crying out for action to address the root causes and ripple effects of the opioid crisis that has caused so much heartbreak for so many people—and today we’re taking an important step to answering that call.


“The legislation we’re passing today includes a wide set of policy solutions, from both sides of the aisle, to help tackle this problem from many different angles.

“Many people helped craft this legislation and offered their own valuable insights, ideas, and solutions—and I’m grateful to all of them.

 

“I especially want to thank the Committee leaders in both chambers who did so much to bring this together. Senators Wyden, Feinstein, Alexander, Hatch, and Grassley here in the Senate. And Congressmen Pallone, Neal, Nadler, Walden, Brady, and Goodlatte over in the House.

 

“I’m also grateful to Leader Schumer and Leader McConnell and several others who were particularly helpful in this process. Thank you Senators Heitkamp, Donnelly, Markey, Hassan, Casey, Manchin, McCaskill, Baldwin, Nelson, Kaine, and so many more. And of course I want to thank my staff and the many other members of staff that worked on this as well.

 

“The bill we crafted together is a meaningful bipartisan compromise. It’s not what I would have written on my own, and I know it’s not what any one of my colleagues would have written on their own.


“But it’s a collection of impactful common sense solutions where we were able to find common ground. Ideas that respond to the root causes and the ripple effects our communities are facing.

 

“It includes support for state efforts to improve plans of safe care for children born to mothers battling substance use disorders—like those at the hospital I visited.

 

“And ensures the Health Department is implementing strategies already identified to protect moms and babies from the effects of opioid substance use.

 

“It includes provisions to develop a taskforce and grants to help support trauma-informed care programs, and increase access to mental health care for children and families in their communities—including at schools like the one that principal told me about.

 

“And provisions to build on critical public health activities to prevent opioid misuse from occurring in the first place.

 

“It includes provisions to address the economic and workforce impacts of the opioid crisis like support for training to help the nearly one million people out of work due to opioid use disorder to gain and retain employment, as well as provisions to strengthen our behavioral health workforce, so that patients and families can access treatment they need.


“It continues meaningful grants that help states address the most pressing problems associated with substance use disorders in their communities, and makes those grants more flexible and available to our tribal communities who are suffering deeply with the impact of substance use disorders.

 

“It expands access to treatment services by making more providers eligible to prescribe medication assisted treatment. 

 

“And it includes provisions to help the Food and Drug Administration address the crisis as well, like giving it new authority over packaging and disposal of opioids.

 

“As well as so many other steps to help those on the frontlines of this epidemic.

“I’m glad we could include so many voices in this discussion, and that it led to a bill that offers so many ideas to address the different angles of this crisis.

 

“And I look forward to seeing this bill become law so that it can start helping families and communities as we work to reach everyone impacted by this nationwide fight against opioid use disorder.

 

“Of course while this is an important bill and an impactful step forward, it is not a final step by any means.


“The opioid crisis is ongoing, and our efforts to address it must be as well. So I’m going to keep listening to people in Washington state about what they need to respond to this crisis, and working with my colleagues here in Washington D.C. to provide resources and solutions that can help make a difference.

 

“I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation. And I yield the floor.”

 

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