The Senate Judiciary Committee today amended and approved by voice vote two bipartisan bills aimed at stemming the opioid epidemic. The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act (S. 483), authored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), would direct the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Drug Enforcement Administration to assess patient obstacles to legitimate access to controlled substances; identify how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patients and prevent diversion and abuse of prescription drugs; and provide their findings in a report to Congress. The report must incorporate feedback and recommendations from hospitals, physicians, patient groups, insurers, public health authorities and others. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524) would establish an interagency Task Force to develop Best Practices for Pain Management; authorize federal grant programs to establish a Drug-Free Media Campaign; create community-based grants to address local drug crises; develop treatment alternatives to incarceration; and fund first responder training in the use of opioid overdose reversal drugs. Several Democratic senators urged Senate leadership to include additional funding for the initiatives before full Senate consideration of the bill, sponsored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI),  Rob  Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).