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Congressman Tim Ryan Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Combat Opioid Abuse

July 25, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressmen Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Troy Balderson (R-OH) introduced a bipartisan bill to help improve prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and reduce opioid abuse. The Prescription Drug Monitoring Act (H.R. 3974) would push states to enhance their use of prescription drug monitoring programs, a powerful tool to prevent opioid abuse. To view the full bill click here. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the Senate companion.

“In 2012, there were more opioid prescriptions in the state of Ohio than people. No effort is too small as it relates to helping struggling families and communities get the resources they need to confront this crisis. In this broad, multi-faceted approach, prescription drug monitoring programs are an important tool to address this epidemic,” said Congressman Ryan. “That is why I’m proud to introduce the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act, which will help keep millions of patients safe who use non-opioid medication and streamline prescription drug monitoring programs across the country. This bill will also give doctors a better look at medications a patient is taking to ensure that any additional prescriptions will not adversely impact patients’ health.”

“Ohio is among the top-five states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdoses, and the majority of those suffering from opioid addiction were originally prescribed painkillers by their doctors,” said Congressman Balderson. “Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs play a critical role in stopping opioid abuse, we just need to ensure prescribers and dispensers are talking to each other so folks who are suffering don’t fall through the cracks.”

While most states have a monitoring program, they vary widely in how they are used and operated. The Prescription Drug Monitoring Act strengthens the role of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) by requiring the use of prescription drug monitoring programs in all states that receive certain federal funding to combat opioid abuse and requiring states to make their PDMP data accessible to other states. The bill would do the following:

  • Require drug dispensers in covered states to report to the PDMP each opioid prescription they dispense to patients within 24 hours.
  • Require practitioners in covered states to consult the PDMP before prescribing opioids to patients.
  • Require states to actively notify practitioners when the PDMP shows a patient exhibiting patterns indicative of opioid misuse
  • Require states to make their PDMP data available to other states.