FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                               CONTACT: Liz Voyles

September 17, 2018                                                 , 202-297-9641


Big City Health Coalition Applauds Senate Passage of Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018

Group Urges that Funding Needs to Reach Communities


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) thanked the U.S. Senate today for passing legislation to better arm communities to fight the opioid epidemic currently sweeping the country’s cities and towns. 

 The Coalition is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact more than 55 million people, or one in six Americans.

“More than 100 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, and today the U.S. Senate acted to address this epidemic. Our members are on the front lines of the epidemic. We welcome the resources legislators provided today for this mission and look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to insure those resource reach local communities across the country ,” said Chrissie Juliano, Director of the Big Cities Health Coalition. “We are pleased to see a mix of treatment and prevention measures in this bill. Even as we respond to the current crisis, we must also continue working to prevent the factors that lead to opioid, and other substance, misuse and abuse. Finally, this bill also acknowledges the infectious disease challenges associated with injection drug use, and supports medication assisted treatment, both of which are essential elements to mounting an effective response.”

BCHC urges Congress to complete its work on the opioid package so that it can be signed into law, ensuring that resources reach local communities without further delay.

Among other things, the bill:

·    Expands the grant program used to purchase naloxone that was authorized in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA);

·    Expands the number of patients that physicians are allowed to prescribe Medication-Assisted treatment (MAT) to 275;

·    Provides authority to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to require drug manufacturers to limit supplies to 3 or 7 days to avoid overprescribing;

·    Increases education and training to promote improved prescribing practices;

·    Authorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to combat the opioid crisis through data collection, including grants for localities, states, and tribes; and

·    Creates a grant program at CDC to prevent and respond to epidemic-associated infections such as Hepatitis and HIV.