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Last week, the President’s Commission on combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis held its third formal public hearing.  The Commission which had an original date of October 1 for recommendations has delayed that date until November 1.

Opening comments included the testimony of Dr Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health.  He told the Commission that NIH was looking at building partnerships with the research community to cut in half the time needed to provide less-addictive pain killing prescriptions.

This hearing focused on prevention initiatives.  Along with Dr Francis Collins, witnesses included Stephen J. Ubl, President and CEO, PhRMA, James N. Campbell, M.D., Centrexion Therapeutics, Christian Kopfli, Chromocell Corporation, David M. Stack, Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Mike Derkacz, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, George M. Savage, Proteus Digital Health, Corey McCann, Pear Therapeutics Richard Pops, Alkermes, Ponni Subbiah, Indivior, Roger Crystal, Opiant Pharmaceuticals, and Kristen Gullo, US World Meds.

Stephen Ubl from PhRMA testified that his pharmaceutical company would support limiting the supply of opioids to seven days in replacement of the traditional 30-day limit for short-term pain management plans for minor treatment situations.

Last week, CWLA submitted comments to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The comments focus on how the Commission needs to include certain actions that can help address the drug epidemic’s impact on child welfare.

On July 31, the Commission released an interim report of recommendations, which can be found on the CWLA Legislative index under substance use. Overall, the report offers proposals targeted more toward treatment than law enforcement measures—a significant political turn from the law-and-order approach to crack-cocaine in the 1980s.

The CWLA recommendations include endorsements of several of the Commission’s proposals, including granting waiver approvals for all 50 states to quickly eliminate barriers to treatment resulting from the federal Institutes for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion within the Medicaid program; medical education training in opioid prescribing and risks of developing a substance use disorder (SUD); and enhanced access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).

The CWLA comments provides numerous examples of how the epidemic is affected child welfare systems and the recommendations include, protecting Medicaid, assisting states in developing and funding plans of safe care for infants, reauthorization of regional drug treatment grant, extension of the Court Improvement Program, assistance in addressing the workforce impact on child welfare workers and enactment of the expansion of Title IV-E funding to treatment and interventions services as proposed in last year Families First Act.

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