President Signs Sinema-Backed Bill to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema’s (AZ-09) initiative to fight the opioid crisis was signed into law today, part of a broader package that takes on the deadly epidemic. The PASS Act, co-introduced by Sinema, helps stop the flood of opioids into Arizona communities, helps seniors avoid opioid addiction, and cracks down on overprescribing.

“Too many Arizona families know the pain of opioid addiction. Arizonans deserve real solutions that help end this crisis,”said Sinema.“Today, the president signed our bipartisan legislation to keep deadly opioids out of our communities and to support Arizonans battling addiction with improved prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.”

The Sinema-backed provision signed into law today confronts the opioid epidemic with a multi-pronged approach. Among other provisions, the PASS Act:

  • Cracks down on doctors and providers contributing to the opioid epidemic by requiring insurance companies working within the Medicare Part D system to alert the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) to doctors who overprescribe opioids for investigation;
  • Cuts down on overprescribing and educates doctors on appropriate treatments. The bill requires CMS to establish a threshold for ‘outlier prescribers,’ doctors who prescribe amounts of opioids that are outside the norm for their region or specialty. CMS will alert these doctors that they are overprescribing and address any flawed practices; and
  • Makes it easier for seniors to avoid addiction and manage their prescriptions by expanding the Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program to include Medicare beneficiaries. The MTM program provides counseling that can help reduce the risks of prescription drug abuse. 

The PASS Act becomes law as part of a broader package that helps prevent opioid addiction and promotes recovery and treatment. The legislation also helps intercept foreign shipments of opioids into the U.S., expands Medicare and Medicaid coverage for opioid treatment, and provides grants to combat the opioid crisis.

Sinema has worked across the aisle to help keep illegal opioids out of Arizona communities and improve access to treatment for those suffering from addiction by: