Hudson's Bipartisan Bills Pass House as Part of Comprehensive Package to Combat the Opioid Crisis

June 22, 2018
Hudson’s Bipartisan Bills Pass House as Part of Comprehensive Package to Combat the Opioid Crisis
Hudson’s bill has been praised as one of “the most important opioid bills in the House
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08) released the following statement after the House passed his bipartisan bills, the Securing Opioids and Unused Narcotics with Deliberate (SOUND) Disposal and Packaging Act (H.R. 5687) and the Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act (H.R. 5041), as part of H.R. 6, a comprehensive package of legislation to combat the opioid crisis. This legislation is critical for our community as North Carolina has four of the top 25 worst cities for abuse in the country – including Fayetteville. As a leader on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the panel tasked with writing most of the nation’s health care laws, Rep. Hudson continues to be on the front lines of the committee’s work to learn more about how and why the opioid epidemic happened and what legislative solutions can be pursued.
“Seventy percent of heroin addictions begin in the family medicine cabinet. This is the front line in this all-hands-on-deck fight to end the opioid crisis,” said Rep. Hudson. “This isn’t a partisan issue – it’s an American one, and I’m proud of the bipartisan work we’ve done to stop the deadly cycle of opioid addiction.”
Rep. Hudson’s SOUND Disposal and Packaging Act is a bipartisan bill he introduced with Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) that would encourage and promote improved packaging and disposal methods with respect to opioids. It has been applauded as one of “the most important opioid bills in the House” and legislation that “could make a more serious difference.” To learn more about this important legislation, click here. To see Rep. Hudson’s floor speech in support of this bill, click here.
Rep. Hudson’s Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act is a bipartisan bill to help prevent the misuse or diversion of unused medications by equipping hospice professionals with the legal authority to safely dispose of unused drugs after a hospice patient’s death. To learn more about this legislation, click here.
These two bills, which the House previously passed with bipartisan support, have been included in the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6). This comprehensive package of legislation is a product of months of bipartisan work to find solutions that will help in overall efforts to advance treatment and recovery initiatives, improve prevention, protect our communities, and bolster our efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl. For a summary on this legislation, click here.
The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act follows the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act last Congress, as well as the $4 billion appropriated in the omnibus earlier this year to help combat the opioid crisis. This is the most significant congressional effort against a single drug crisis in history, and these efforts are supported by 161 patient advocacy groups.
For more information on what the House is doing to combat the opioid crisis, visit
Rep. Hudson recently hosted a roundtable discussion at Serenity House in Concord to meet with local leaders, local officials, law enforcement, health care professionals and members of our community fighting addiction and talk about ways to improve public health response efforts.
This lastest action builds on months of bipartisan work and discussions. In March during a two-day Health Subcommittee hearing entitled, “Combating the Opioid Crisis: Prevention and Public Health Solutions,” the Subcommittee discussed his bill and Rep. Hudson questioned witnesses, including Dr. John Holaday, Chairman and CEO of DisposeRx, the country’s leading site-of-use medication disposal company which is located in Southern Pines, N.C., in Rep. Hudson’s district. Rep. Hudson and Dr. Holaday highlighted the importance of educating patients on the proper use, storage and disposal of opioids and offering convenient disposal methods.
Rep. Hudson is recognized as the leader on trying to find solutions to help prevent the misuse or diversion of unused opioids by safe, accessible disposal methods. This is critical as, according to the Journal of American Medical Association, less than 10 percent of patients dispose of their opioids properly and 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden has applauded Rep. Hudson’s idea to study new and innovative technologies that claim to have the capability to safely dispose of opioids and other medications, saying“Frankly, making it easier to dispose of opioids is just a commonsense idea, and Rep. Richard Hudson is taking opioid disposal another step further. His legislation would require the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study new and innovative technologies that claim to be able to safely dispose of opioids and other unused medications. GAO would review and detail the effectiveness of these disposal methods. This bill would also necessitate the Attorney General to promulgate guidelines for the safe site-of-use in-home disposal of prescription drugs.”
In March, Rep. Hudson welcomed the president’s proposal to combat the opioid crisis and pledged to continue working with the administration, colleagues and state and local officials to raise awareness and find ways to defeat this opioid epidemic. In addition, Rep. Hudson questioned Susan Gibson, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Diversion Control Division at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and spoke of these ideas to safely dispose of unused opioids.
Last October, Rep. Hudson shared local stories and highlighted potential legislative solutions, saying, “One idea I’m working on is expanding access to safe ways to dispose of prescription drugs, particularly opioids. DisposeRx is a company in my district that manufactures a powder that mixes with water inside the pill bottle and renders any unused opioids not only inaccessible and inextricable, but also bio-degradable. It’s innovative ideas like this that we need to explore and I look forward to working with colleagues on the Committee to help treat and prevent this opioid addiction.”
Because of his critical work and leadership on this issue, Rep. Hudson was the only member of Congress from the North Carolina delegation to attend the White House’s announcement to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency last October.
Last Congress, Rep. Hudson helped the committee lead two major initiatives that were signed into law that provide critical resources for combating the crisis. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act includes 11 committee bills which ranged from additional resources to combat the epidemic to establishing an inter-agency task force to review, modify and update best practices for pain management and how it is prescribed. It is recognized by leading national advocates as “the critical response we need.” In September 2017, HHS released $144.1 million, largely through CARA to help prevent and treat opioid addiction. The 21st Century Cures Act provides $1 billion in state grants to be applied to the fight on the front lines.
Just as the crisis continues across the United States, Congress and the administration are redoubling efforts. Those actions range from ensuring successful implementation of the laws passed last year to continuing to investigate and identify additional solutions that will help those battling addiction, improve prevention efforts, and support local officials, law enforcement and the health care professionals responding to the crisis.
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