House committee to hold hearing on opioid epidemic

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House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) is calling on lawmakers to “redouble” efforts to address the opioid epidemic as the committee prepares to hold a hearing on the crisis next month.

“President Donald Trump recently declared the epidemic a national emergency,” Walden wrote in a Morning Consult op-ed published Tuesday. “While the administration prepares to take action, it is of utmost importance we in Congress kick our work into high gear as well.”

At the hearing, slated to be held the week of  Oct. 23, lawmakers will receive an update on the implementation of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which passed last year with bipartisan support. Agency officials helping address the epidemic at the federal level will also provide an update on their efforts.

{mosads}Additionally, the panel’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will continue recent investigations into pill dumping and patient brokering.

The opioid epidemic has plagued communities across America, hitting both rural and urban areas. Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths from heroin and prescription painkillers has quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At a press conference in early August, President Trump told reporters his administration was drafting paperwork to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency, which his commission to address the crisis called the “first and most urgent” recommendation in an interim report. The Trump administration hasn’t finalized the paperwork.

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