Congressman Tim Ryan Statement on President Trump’s Newly Released Opioid Plan | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressman Tim Ryan Statement on President Trump’s Newly Released Opioid Plan

March 19, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s newly released plan to combat the opioid addiction epidemic.

“Opioid addiction is destroying lives, disrupting families, and destabilizing communities. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, I see the impact this epidemic has in every zip code across the country each and every day. It is imperative that we work to stem this tide. I am dismayed that it took President Trump nearly 18 months to present a comprehensive plan to confront this crisis -- which is growing worse by the day -- but am pleased that it includes several ambitious, evidence-based reforms that have been recommended by public health experts for many years.

“However, I am disappointed that President Trump felt the need to include an extremely dangerous policy that would encourage prosecutors to seek the death penalty against drug dealers. I am all for punishing drug dealers, but I’m not for pushing the death penalty. Right now we have a system that continues to  execute innocent people. Our system is flawed in a big way. Democrats and Republicans agree on so much when it comes to the opioid epidemic. President Trump is picking an unnecessary fight over a contentious issue and sidetracking from the real work that must be done. We need to move forward on this immense issue, but this part of the President’s policy is an intentional distraction that will have little impact on healing our country’s opiate epidemic.

“There is no doubt that we all must do more to create a future where fewer people are becoming addicted to opioids and people are no longer dying of overdoses. That is why I also call on Congress to pass CARA 2.0, legislation that I introduced, that will provide a number of new resources for treatment and law enforcement, as well as an additional $1 billion in funding to our communities.  I am proud to be a part of this bipartisan legislation and will continue to fight to make sure crisis remains a top priority for Congress and this Administration,” said Congressman Ryan.

The Trump Administration’s plan calls for a variety of needed reforms and initiatives such as:

  • Making it easier for Medicaid enrollees to access in-patient addiction treatment
  • Raising the threshold for federal reimbursement of opioid prescriptions
  • Expanding the availability of Naloxone
  • Encouraging states to opt into a drug-monitoring database that allows doctors to identify patients who have been seeking multiple opioid prescriptions from a variety of providers

Many of these needed provisions have been championed by Congressman Ryan in Congress for years. Congressman Ryan has been a long-time cosponsor of the Breaking Addiction Act and the Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion Act which would remove harmful and outdated limits on Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD’s) accepting Medicaid reimbursements for addiction treatment services.

Congressman Ryan also is an original cosponsor of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act. This legislation would push states to enhance their use of prescription drug monitoring programs, a powerful tool to prevent opioid abuse. While most states have a monitoring program, they vary widely in how they are used and operated. The legislation would focus federal resources on improving the state monitoring programs’ effectiveness. States would provide access to their prescription drug monitoring program data to other states, prescribers would check the database before prescribing powerful medications like opioids, and pharmacies would submit prescribing information within 24 hours