Senators introduce bill to measure progress in opioid fight

Senators introduce bill to measure progress in opioid fight
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Three senators are introducing a bill to measure the federal government’s progress in ending the opioid epidemic, as the White House and Congress are grappling with how to solve a crisis contributing to thousands of deaths per year.

Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDems blast EPA nominee at confirmation hearing Overnight Energy: Watchdog investigating EPA enforcement numbers | EPA's Wheeler faces Senate grilling | Interior's offshore drilling staff returning to work during shutdown EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks MORE (D-Mass.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenators look for possible way to end shutdown Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight McConnell: Senate will not recess if government still shutdown MORE (R-Alaska) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanNew Hampshire's secretary of state narrowly holds seat New Hampshire Dem icon at risk after work with Trump Dem senators call on DeVos to rescind new campus sexual assault policies MORE (D-N.H.) said it’s important to create national indicators to determine what efforts to solve the opioid crisis have worked, and what hasn’t.

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“We need to know whether our policies and resources are being used in ways that have a measurable impact on the public’s health,” Markey said in a press release. “If we don’t have a dashboard to clearly and quantifiably show our progress on this epidemic, we will continue to fight the same battle over and over again.”

The bill requires federal agencies to craft ways to measure the effectiveness of efforts to tackle the opioid epidemic within 180 days, with the goal of “significantly reversing” opioid misuse and opioid-related deaths within five years.

Solving the opioid crisis is an immense public health challenge. The White House has released a three-pronged approach on how to curb the uptick in opioid overdose deaths.

On Capitol Hill, committees and groups of lawmakers in both chambers are working to hammer out legislation aimed at tackling the crisis. An effort from the House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to be on the chamber’s floor in June.