House Passes Bipartisan Opioid Legislation

July 8, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 8, 2016 Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive Addictions and Recovery Act (CARA), which includes provisions to address the use and abuse of opioid medications. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supports balanced initiatives contained in the legislation that will expand research on chronic pain at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) across the country, and create a task force to review chronic pain prescriber guidelines.

ACS CAN acknowledges the public health emergency that exists today as a result of inappropriate use of opioids and the harms associated with such use. ACS CAN will continue to support balanced public policies that address addiction while maintaining access to necessary pain care for individuals fighting pain from cancer and other diseases and conditions. Debilitating pain affects thousands of Americans and interferes with their ability to work, live independently and enjoy a productive quality of life.

A statement from ACS CAN President Chris Hansen on the legislation follows:

We applaud the House of Representatives for passing balanced, bipartisan legislation to address the growing and critical public health problem of opioid addiction and overdose while recognizing the legitimate need cancer patients and survivors have for pain medication.

There is very little scientific understanding of the basic biologic causes of pain, and there are even fewer ways of treating debilitating pain. The passage of CARA directs the NIH to intensify pain research including the discovery and development of new chronic pain therapies, as well as opioid alternatives.

The legislation also expands and strengthens state-based PDMPs to help ensure health care providers have the patient information they need when deciding whether an opioid prescription is appropriate in any given situation. The legislation also takes an important step to make PDMPs across the country interoperable, and works to ensure that the data systems are able to share data across state lines nationwide. PDMPs play a vital role in abuse prevention for public health officials, researchers, law enforcement, and providers.

Additionally, the establishment of an interagency taskforce will bring together public health experts, including representatives from patient organizations to review, modify, and update evidence-based best practices for pain management and pain medication prescribing. This work will improve the care given to millions of Americans living with pain.

ACS CAN is committed to saving lives from cancer and remains dedicated to identifying balanced policy solutions that ensure all patients and survivors suffering from chronic pain have access to necessary medications. We urge the Senate to expedite final passage of this important legislation.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit


Jill Courtney or Alissa Crispino

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Phone: (202) 585-3278 or (202) 661-5772

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

#opioids #pain #painmedication #CARA #Congress

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