Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Billby Senator Jon Tester
Posted on 2016-03-10
TESTER. Mr. President, earlier today the Senate overwhelming
passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which is a good
first step toward combatting the opioid addition epidemic facing our
Nation. The bill authorizes expanded treatment options and empowers
local health and law enforcement agencies to intensify efforts to
combat opioid addiction. This bill is a good start, but there is a lot
of work left to do to address this increasingly dire situation. This
body needs to put real resources behind the initiatives we approved
today and place a greater priority on investing in research for non-
opioid alternatives to pain management.
The CDC estimated that, in 2014, overdose related to prescription pain killers killed nearly 19,000 Americans. In Montana alone, according to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, prescription drug overdoses led to at least 369 deaths and more than 7,200 hospital inpatient admissions and emergency department encounters statewide over a recent 3-year period. The effects of opioid addiction are undisputedly devastating.
It is also important to keep in mind that chronic pain is a very real problem that affects millions of Americans. When discussing the negative consequences of opioids, we must also remember that effective treatments for chronic pain are absolutely necessary for those struggling with long-term pain management.
That is why I believe it is time to devote more energy and funding to the development of non-opioid painkillers. Early stage research in my home State of Montana is demonstrating incredible promise in developing non-opioid drugs that could help treat both chronic and acute pain. I am confident that medical professionals will eventually be empowered to offer their patients effective pain management alternatives that may significantly reduce our society's reliance on opioids.
I look forward to working with my colleagues in the coming months to find ways to invest in the research and development of non-opioid painkillers. In the meantime, I encourage Federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, to ramp up focus on finding alternative treatments for chronic pain to reduce our Nation's dependency on opioids. Thank you.
(At the request of Mr. Reid, the following statement was ordered to be printed in the Record.) ____________________