Representatives Greg Murphy (RN.C.) and Joe courtneyJoseph (Joe) D. CourtneyHouse GOP campaign arm expands target list after brutal night for House of Dems panel to pass Defense Budget Boost B Democrats urge Biden to extend the moratorium on student loan payments PLUS (D-Conn.) He introduced a bill Wednesday that would direct the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to examine veterans’ deaths from opioid overdoses in the past five years.
The bill, dubbed the “Veterans Heroin Overdose Prevention Act” or “HOPE Act,” specifically seeks a review that looks at prescription and non-prescription opioid abuse and other contributing factors that can lead veterans to overdose. .
Additionally, it instructs the VA to explain what efforts are being made at the federal level to address the opioid crisis, including tracking, collecting, and disposing of unused prescriptions.
The review must begin no more than 18 months after the enactment of the bill, according to the text of the bill obtained by Political.
Lawmakers have also requested that the VA publish a set of recommendations that aim to “improve the safety and well-being of veterans,” according to a statement of the Murphy.
Murphy, who was a practicing physician for more than 30 years, said the available data illustrates that veterans are greatly affected by the opioid crisis, especially those under the care of the VA.
“All available data suggests that veterans are disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic and, surprisingly, veterans being treated by the VA are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with an opioid use disorder than veterans. commercially insured patients, “Murphy said in a statement, referencing Stats of the VA.
He also noted that, according to a team From the University of Michigan and the VA Ann Arbor Health System, the opioid death rate for veterans rose 65 percent between 2010 and 2016, numbers he called “devastating and deeply alarming.”
In a “Dear Colleague” letter requesting support for the HOPE Act, Murphy said the legislation “will help better understand this crisis and its insidious impacts, and expand veterans’ research and overdose prevention efforts beyond the patients actively receiving opioid prescriptions. “
“Our veterans, their families, their friends and their communities deserve better, and we simply must do more to help properly investigate where deadly addictions begin,” he added, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Political.
Courtney, in a statement, said that despite the actions taken by the VA, opioid overdoses among veterans continue to rise, which is why the revision established in the HOPE Act is necessary.
“Although the VA has made efforts to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed, death rates from opioid overdoses continue to rise among veterans. The Veterans HOPE Act will dedicate resources to investigating overdose deaths among veterans and will use VA records to better understand risk factors and help prevent fatal overdoses among those who have served our country, ”he said.