The Senate Judiciary Committee today held a hearing on “a whole-of-government approach” to tackling the opioid crisis. Witnesses included officials from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; Department of Justice; Drug Enforcement Administration; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Rand Corporation; Healthcare Distribution Alliance; National Community Pharmacists Association; and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. Among specific recommendations, Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and DOJ and DEA officials called for permanently scheduling fentanyl-like substances as Schedule I substances while maintaining access to research on these compounds, noting that DEA’s emergency temporary scheduling action controlling fentanyl-related substances is set to expire Feb. 6. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., praised the hub-and-spoke treatment model, of which Vermont was an early adopter, and called for an expansion of rural treatment centers. Other witnesses recommended expanding access to effective treatment for opioid use disorders, stable housing for those recovering from OUD, and a systems approach to data; using pharmacists to expand access to medication-assisted treatment; and additional funding for community coalitions to prevent opioid misuse. 

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