- Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle are pressing the White House to take stronger action to prevent opioid misuse and abuse, threatening to block Robert Califf’s confirmation as head of the Food and Drug Administration until the epidemic is addressed.
- GOP leadership said Wednesday they are anxious to see bipartisan legislation passed by the end of this year.
- The issue has the potential to influence the upcoming presidential election in key states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) chided that goal, saying legislation should be passed “as soon as possible,” according to The Washington Times.
During a Wednesday hearing of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) lashed out at the FDA for “dreaming up new applications for children and for super-opioids,” Bloomberg reported.
The legislation includes provisions that could affect drug companies that make opioids and medicines used to treat opioid addiction and overdoses. Other changes could include tighter border controls to prevent heroin coming into the U.S. from Mexico and provisions to curb excessive prescribing of painkillers.
Calls for stricter controls of opioids come as the number of opioid overdose deaths continues to rise. In 2014, drug overdoses killed 47,000 people, more than double the number in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.