House Passes Defense Authorization Bill with Rep. Schneider Amendment to Address Military Opioid Abuse
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment introduced by Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10) to help prevent overprescribing of opioids by military physicians and better equip Department of Defense medical personnel to identify and treat opioid misuse disorders. The amendment, co-sponsored by Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), was passed by a voice vote and included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018, which passed the House today by a vote of 344-81.
The Schneider Amendment would require medical professionals in the Department of Defense who prescribe opioids for pain management to undertake 12 hours of continuing education training every 3 years to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest best practices in preventing overprescribing and treating misuse.
The National Institute of Health reports rates of prescription opioid misuse are higher among service members than among civilians due to the use of these drugs to treat the symptoms of PTSD and chronic pain. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50.
“Our brave men and women in uniform are unfortunately more susceptible to the epidemic of opioid addiction and abuse that is ravaging our country,” said Schneider. “These fine men and women have earned our gratitude and deserve the highest-quality of health care. This commonsense amendment makes sure our military doctors are equipped with the latest knowledge and best practices to help fight back against this horrible addiction.”
Rep. Schneider previously introduced H.R. 2063, the Opioid Preventing Addiction through Continuing Education (Opioid PACE) Act, which would set similar continuing education requirements for all doctors who prescribe opioids for pain management.