Rep. Schneider Introduces Legislation to Address Overprescribing of Opioids

April 6, 2017
Press Release
Bill would require providers to complete continuing education in effort to minimize and treat opioid addiction

In response to the growing scourge of opioid addiction, Congressmen Brad Schneider (D-IL) today introduced legislation to reduce the overprescribing of these drugs and improve the ability of doctors to detect and treat abuse through greater education for prescribers.

The Opioid PACE (Preventing Abuse through Continuing Education) Act, would require providers who treat patients with prescription opioids for pain management to complete 12 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every three years. The CME would focus on pain management treatment guidelines and best practices, early detection of opioid use disorder, and the treatment and management of patients with opioid use disorder.

“Growing opioid abuse is ravaging our communities and overprescribing of this highly-addictive drug adds to the problem,” said Schneider. “The Opioid PACE Act would require health care providers to undertake training on how to responsibly prescribe opioid medication, as well as identify the signs of misuse and abuse. Ensuring our medical professionals are informed on the most up-to-date best practices will help our communities fighting back against this epidemic.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled since 1999. Over the same period, that increase was matched by a more than fourfold increase in opioid overdose deaths. In Illinois alone, 1,400 people died in 2015 due to opioid overdoses.

The Opioid PACE Act would link completion of the CME requirements to the renewal of the provider’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) license. The bill also authorizes $1,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2018 through 2022 for the development of targeted educational programs for pain management prescribers.

The full text of the legislation is available online.