Rep. Sewell’s Bipartisan Opioid Abuse Bill Passes Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, May 16, the Ways and Means Committee passed the Preventing Addiction for Susceptible Seniors Act, a bill led by Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) and Congressman Peter Roskam (R-PA). The bill offers several new tools for combatting opioid addiction among seniors, including provisions that block “doctor shopping,” expand therapy services, and improve communication between federal agencies, health plans, and the Medicare Drug Integrity Coordinator. The Preventing Addiction for Susceptible Seniors Act passed the committee with unanimous support.
“Opioid addiction is a disease that has spread to millions of Americans across the country, from our young students to our parents and grandparents, from our rural communities to our big cities,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “Alabama, which has the highest rate of opioid prescriptions in the country, is a battleground in our fight against this epidemic. Today’s bipartisan legislation takes an important step forward by equipping Medicare to combat opioid addiction among our seniors. I am proud of the unanimous support our bill received in committee today, but I also believe more work is required to address the root causes of the opioid epidemic and addiction. From economic isolation to overall health care access, we have to address the factors that are driving so many Americans into a cycle of substance abuse.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 500,000 Medicare beneficiaries receive a high amount of opioids, and nearly 90,000 beneficiaries are considered at serious risk for opioid addiction. In 2016, there were 741 overdose deaths in Alabama, the majority of which were caused by prescription opioids and heroin.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.