Jessie’s Law: ‘Another Important Step Forward’ To Fight Opioid Abuse

 ‘Opioid Overdoses Have Skyrocketed In Recent Years … [A]nd There Are Signs That The Epidemic Isn't Abating’


SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “The Senate took another important step forward … in combating the opioid epidemic that is devastating families and communities across the country. Jessie’s Law will help medical professionals make more-informed treatment decisions for their patients by allowing past history of drug addiction to be included in patients’ medical records…. I remain extremely concerned about the impact prescription drug abuse and the use of heroin has had on Kentuckians, and I will continue working to fight this epidemic.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 8/04/2017)

SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV): “The opioid epidemic touches communities across the country … Too many of our children have fallen victim to this national crisis, and too many of our families have suffered the pain of losing a loved one to addiction. As a mother and grandmother, I can’t begin to imagine what the Grubb family has endured. Their daughter Jessie’s story is heartbreaking, but it has also inspired action. Jessie’s Law will help prevent other families from having to endure that kind of suffering and loss.” (Sen. Capito, Press Release, 8/03/2017)


Senate Passes ‘Jessie’s Law’

“The U.S. Senate has passed legislation known as Jessie's Law, which is designed to help ensure that medical professionals have full knowledge of their patents' previous opioid addiction if the patients give consent, according to West Virginia's two U.S. senators. Jessie's Law [is] named for West Virginian Jessie Grubb, who died after a long struggle with drug addiction … The bill will help prevent similar deaths by providing physicians and other medical professionals with critical information throughout a patient's care, enabling them to consider the patient's history of addiction when determining appropriate treatment.” (“Jessie's Law Clears US Senate,” The [Huntington, WV] Herald-Dispatch, 8/04/2017)


Funding To Combat The Opioid And Heroin Epidemics

The Fiscal Year 2017 Omnibus spending bill includes $1.1 billion in funding for prevention, treatment, and enforcement programs to help communities across the country suffering from the opioid and heroin epidemics.


The 2016 CARA Bill Was ‘The Most Sweeping Drug Legislation In Years’

The 2016 CARA bill was a “…bipartisan effort to address the heroin and opioid epidemic, which has ravaged much of the country...” (“Democrats Funding Demand Threatens To Derail Opioid Bill,” Politico Pro, 7/05/2016)

“Public health advocates have lauded the bill as a crucial policy shift, recognizing addiction as a disease rather than a law enforcement problem.” (“Congress Sends First Major Opioids Bill To Obama's Desk,” The Hill, 7/13/2016)


‘The Full Picture Of The Epidemic May Be Worse’

“Since 2000, the number of overdose deaths from drugs in the U.S. has risen more than 137%. Deaths from opioids—which include painkillers and heroin—make up a large portion of these deaths; 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose…. [A] new study finds that many opioid-related deaths are underreported, and that the full picture of the epidemic may be worse than even those numbers show.” (“Dying From an Opioid Overdose Is More Common Than You Think,” Time, 8/07/2017)

  • “In the report, Christopher Ruhm, a professor of public policy & economics at the University of Virginia, created a prediction equation that he believes more accurately estimates the number of opioid-related deaths in a given state. Ruhm found that nationwide, the death rate from opioids is 24% higher than what has been estimated previously. Deaths related to heroin, which is cheaper than prescription painkillers, are 22% higher, he says.” (“Dying From an Opioid Overdose Is More Common Than You Think,” Time, 8/07/2017)

“Opioid overdoses have skyrocketed in recent years, leading state governments to commit millions to fighting the issue. A national CDC study showing 25% of all drug overdose deaths were related to heroin in 2015. That number was just 6% in 1999…. And there are signs that the epidemic isn't abating. A study by the National Center for Health Statistics found that estimated drug overdose deaths for the first nine months of 2016 were higher than the first nine months of the previous year, which had already reached an all-time high of 52,404.” (“Trump To Be Briefed On Opioid Abuse,” CNN, 8/08/2017)

  • “In one of the latest examples of the growing opioid epidemic, researchers found a seven-fold increase in the proportion of drivers killed while under the influence of prescription opioids since 1995…. ‘The opiate epidemic is primarily defined by deaths from overdoses, but its health impact goes beyond those overdose fatalities,’ said Guohua Li, the study’s senior author and director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University…. In a paper published last month in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that the prevalence of drivers with prescription opioids detected in their systems at the time of death surged from 1.0% in 1995 to 7.2% in 2015.” (“Proportion Of Drivers Killed While Under Influence Of Opioids Shows Huge Spike,” USA Today, 8/03/2017)
  • MISSISSIPPI & TENNESSEE: “[T]he national numbers are equally grim in Mississippi, where heroin-related overdoses rose 2,000 percent from 2013 to 2016. DeSoto County leads the state in heroin deaths, with 23 last year and 19 already this year…. The stories shared during the two-hour exchange were a brutal assault on the senses -- a desperate father speaking in a broken voice about driving his son to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for treatment just to get him away from his daily influences closer to home, and a family whose child overdosed while waiting to get into treatment, only to be released from the hospital directly into a treatment facility before he could use again.” (“Tales Of Opioid Anguish And A Search For Answers At Southaven Town Hall,” The [Memphis] Commercial Appeal, 8/02/2017)
  • MICHIGAN: “Michigan’s opioid epidemic coincides with a dramatic increase in hepatitis C infections across the state, including a 473 percent increase of the deadly liver disease among 18-to-29 year olds, according to data released by state health officials Wednesday. There were 2,060 new hepatitis C cases among 18-to-29 year olds in 2016, compared with 359 in 2005. Among those who shared their drug-use history, 84 percent said they had used intravenous drugs, a major risk factor for the blood-borne virus due to sharing of needles…. ‘There is certainly a link between the outbreak and opioid use,’ said Jennifer Eisner, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.” (“Michigan Hepatitis C Jump Tied To Opioid Crisis,” The Detroit News, 8/02/2017)
  • OHIO: “Ohio foster care system flooded with children amid opioid epidemic?… It is estimated that due in large part to the opioid catastrophe, at least 2.5 million children nationwide are being raised by grandparents or other relatives. But some have no relatives who will take them in, and go directly to foster care. ‘We think about 50 percent of the kids who are in foster care in Ohio are there because one or both parents are in fact drug addicts,’ said Mike DeWine, the state's attorney general. Across the state, 14,000 children are in agency custody -- up 14 percent in five years. Case workers are stressed to the limit.” (“Ohio Foster Care System Flooded With Children Amid Opioid Epidemic?,” CBS News, 8/07/2017)



Related Issues: Opioid Abuse, Health Care