Congress Sends Balanced Opioid Package to President for Approval

Legislative Package Preserves Access for Seriously Ill Patients While Addressing Misuse and Abuse

October 3, 2018

Washington, D.C. – Following negotiations between both chambers of Congress, a comprehensive and bipartisan legislative package to address the nation’s opioid epidemic now heads to the president’s desk for approval and enactment.  The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act includes key provisions that encourage the development of non-opioid medications; require the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to conduct a study on the effects of federal and state opioid prescribing limits on patients; increase innovative research on pain treatment; encourage the safe disposal of unused opioid medications by medical professionals and hospice workers; and increase federal support for state run prescription drug monitoring programs.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is supportive of many of the provisions adopted in the final legislation and commends lawmakers for advancing balanced bipartisan solutions that won’t erect access barriers to appropriate pain care for cancer patients and survivors living with chronic conditions.

A statement from Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN, follows:

“Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are commended for passing thoughtful legislation that aims to address the opioid crisis. As various proposals were introduced and considered by Congress, ACS CAN continuously called for a balanced approach to addressing the opioid epidemic that wouldn’t create unintended consequences for cancer patients and survivors who rely on prescription pain medications to maintain their quality of life during and after treatment.

“We are pleased to see Congress approve a comprehensive legislative package that will give communities and states the resources they need to stem the tide on this crisis. It is critically important we accelerate progress against this serious public health problem by enacting balanced policies and we urge the president to sign this package into law as soon as possible.”


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