The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee today held a hearing on the opioid crisis and “how to move forward.” Journalist Sam Quinones, author of the book “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,” shared his recommendations for addressing the crisis, which included greater use of innovative community and law enforcement solutions, promoting a wider array of pain strategies by physicians, and urging insurance companies to reimburse for non-narcotic pain treatments. “CARA and the Cures Act make up a great start…but they are only a start,” Quinones said. “Everything I’ve learned about this issue has taught me the importance of long-term community responses and commitment.” In a statement submitted for an October hearing on the issue, AHA urged the committee to eliminate barriers to treatment created by the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease exclusion; align Part 2 federal regulations governing the confidentiality of substance use disorder treatment records with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; enhance access to medication-assisted treatment; and strengthen and ensure prescription drug monitoring programs can share information across state lines, among other actions.

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