On Wednesday, the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing on additional legislation to deal with opioids. The legislation, The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, has been called by some a second version of the 2016 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The Committee released a discussion draft on April 4 with public comments due by April11.

In releasing the draft, the Committee statement indicated that the proposed act would focus on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) including spurring development and strategies to prevent, treat, and manage pain and substance use disorders; encourage responsible prescribing behavior; clarifying FDA authority to require manufacturers to give patients simple and safe options to dispose of unused opioids; improving detection and seizure of illegal drugs, through stronger; and clarifying FDA’s development and regulatory pathways for medical product manufacturers through guidance for new non-addictive and non-opioid pain products.

It would also act through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through grants for states, localities, and tribes to collect data and implement key prevention strategies.

The proposed draft also outlines how funding could or would be used under CAPTA regarding plans of safe care. It will address some treatment for youth dealing with an addiction and include action through the Labor Department to address the economic and workforce impacts for communities affected by the opioid crisis.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued a statement that said in part, “We’ve been listening to the experts for the last six months on how the federal government can help states and communities bring an end to the opioid crisis, and the bipartisan proposals in this draft reflect what we’ve learned…” He was joined in his sentiments by Ranking Member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) who also said, “ By working together, listening to researchers, officials, experts, and families facing the crisis, and pulling in the ideas of Senators from both sides of the aisle—we have been able to take an important step with this draft bill toward addressing the wide set of challenges caused by the opioid epidemic.”

Expected witnesses include representatives from the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare and the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors as well as some other witnesses.