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Tim in the News

Coldwater Daily Reporter: U.S. House passes heroin, opiods legislation

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Washington, May 20, 2016 | comments
Seventh district Michigan Congressman Tim Walberg saw one of his co-sponsored bills pass the house last week amid a series to fight opiod and heroin drug abuse.

"There have been more victims in this battle than should be called criminals," Walberg said. "What we have been doing has not been working. There is a better way."

Walberg had helped introduce a bi-partisan bill to strengthen safeguards to ensure infants born into a life of drug addiction are safely cared for and protected.

H.R. 4843, the Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act, will strengthen efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure states are following current child welfare requirements.

“Like many families in Michigan, I have witnessed the damaging effects heroin and opioid addiction is having on our communities, and the House is taking bipartisan action to find solutions to this public health crisis from every angle,” Walberg said.

“Some of the most heartbreaking stories involve drug-dependent newborns who enter the world with all the odds stacked against them,” Walberg said. "As part of our comprehensive response, this bipartisan bill will strengthen the child welfare system to ensure vulnerable infants don’t slip through the cracks, and their caregivers can get the help they need."

In addition to the Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act, the House has also passed the following legislation so far this week to combat the opioid epidemic, including establishing an inter-agency task force to review prescribing best practices, making it safer for veterans to seek pain management care.

They include:

H.R. 4063 Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, improves the use of opioid therapy and pain management in treating veterans.

H.R. 5048 Good Samaritan Assessment Act directs GAO to study state and local Good Samaritan laws that protect caregivers, law enforcement personnel and first responders who administer opioid overdose reversal drugs or devices from criminal liability.

H.R. 5052 OPEN Act, directs the Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Services to evaluate the effectiveness of grant programs that provide assistance in addressing problems pertaining to opioid abuse.
The House also passed HR 5046 — the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016 — by a vote of 413-5. The legislation proposes authorizing "the Department of Justice to award grants to state, local and tribal governments to provide opioid abuse services."

The senate will need to approve the legislation before it goes to the president.

This article originally appeared in the May 20 edition of the Coldwater Daily Reporter.
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