The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment to raise the cap of physician treatment of patients struggling with opioid addiction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 115 Americans die daily from opioid addiction. Opioids include certain prescription drugs and heroin.
Paul’s amendment to S.2680, the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, will increase the cap on the number of patients a doctor can prescribe medication to treat opioid addiction. The new cap will allow more patients to be treated with buprenorphine, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction.
Paul, a physician by trade, says the act will help ensure that more Americans battling opioid addiction can receive the medical treatment they desperately need.
“We have made considerable progress to ensure that more Americans struggling with opioid abuse can receive treatment, and I applaud the HELP Committee for taking action today to help us gain more ground. I look forward to the full Senate following its lead,” Paul said in a press release.
A regulation in 2016 was issued to allow physicians to treat up to 275 patients struggling with opioid addiction, raising the previous cap limit of from 100 patients. Paul’s amendment to the Opioid Crisis Response Act will legislate the 275 patient cap.
In October of 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis to be a national public health emergency. The declaration was renewed in January.
“This epidemic can affect anyone, which is why we must educate everyone,” Trump said.
Trump also promised to go after those responsible for inflating opioid prescription rates to unprecedented levels for several decades.
“Whether you are a dealer, a doctor, or a manufacturer…we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable,” Trump said.