News Releases

Bipartisan package includes over 70 proposals from five Senate committees; will get vote in full Senate soon 

A longtime champion for efforts to curb addiction, Senator Murray has traveled extensively throughout WA for best practices to end opioid misuse, shared several stories from WA patients & others that helped inform legislation 

Senator Murray: “…by taking ideas from all sides of the aisle and focusing on the root causes and ripple effects of the opioid epidemic, the bill we are working on offers a strong step in that direction”

(Washington, D.C.) – Led in part by efforts from U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the Senate agreed to vote soon on the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 (OCRA), a bipartisan package of over 70 proposals recommended to the full Senate by the Senate Health, Finance, Judiciary, Commerce, and Banking committees. The bill follows months of work from Senator Murray and others focused specifically on finding ways to leverage the federal government to help curb addiction in communities ravaged by the opioids crisis in Washington state and across the nation.

“The communities and families on the frontlines of the opioid crisis want serious action to address the full range of challenges they face, and by taking ideas from all sides of the aisle and focusing on the root causes and ripple effects of the opioid epidemic, the bill we are working on offers a strong step in that direction,” said Senator Murray, ranking member of the Senate health committee. “I’m glad so many members were able to come together to find common sense solutions to help our families and those across the country impacted by the battle with opioid addiction. I’ve heard so many people in our state—including parents and patients, medical professionals and educators, law enforcement officers and more—about the urgent need to address this crisis, and I’ve brought their stories to the table while my colleagues and I discussed and debated possible solutions. Now that we have agreed on a bipartisan basis to quickly make additional changes that will move the package forward, I look forward to getting these steps signed into law.”

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 will:

Reduce Use and Supply.

The legislation includes the STOP Act which will help stop illegal drugs at the border, as well as provisions that provide flexible grants for states to better share Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs data, clarify FDA authority to require set packaging for prescription opioids, such as a 3 or 7 day supply in a blister pack, and fight opioid diversion.

Encourage Recovery.

The legislation includes provisions to support states and Indian tribes in addressing substance use disorders, establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers, expand access to medication-assisted treatment, and improve community support, access to health professionals, tele-health services and long-distance care, and recovery housing services.

Support Caregivers and Families.

The legislation includes provisions to improve plans of safe care and support for substance-exposed babies and their mothers, promote family-focused treatment and recovery, help youth with substance use disorders recover, and strengthen trauma-informed care and support in schools and early childhood education programs.

Drive Innovation and Long-Term Solutions.

The legislation includes provisions to advance cutting-edge research to spur discovery and development of new non-addictive painkillers, address economic and workforce impacts of the opioid crisis, ensure parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits, and improve pain management.

As the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, Senator Murray has worked at length to help find federal solutions to the growing opioid epidemic in Washington state and nationwide, including successfully strengthening federal investments in efforts to curb opioid misuse, and travelling extensively throughout the state over the past several years—from Everett to Seattle to Longview, and more—to meet with patients, families, health providers, medical professionals, law enforcement officials, community leaders, and others to better understand the impact of the opioid epidemic on families and communities. In Washington D.C., Senator Murray has shared these stories with her Senate colleagues as she has worked for policies that helped address their needs. Additionally, Senator Murray has worked extensively to strengthen federal investments in efforts to combat the growing opioid epidemic, including championing the Omnibus Appropriations bill enacted in March which provided $4.7 billion directed towards the opioid crisis and also included $1 billion for grants to states.

The bipartisan agreement to move the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 forward in the Senate also includes a bipartisan understanding about important changes that will be made as it moves through the process and before it gets signed into law.

Text reflecting the agreement can be found HERE.