A Closer Look at the Bipartisan Bill to Combat the Opioid Epidemic


Next week, the U.S. Senate is poised to pass its sweeping response to the opioid crisis. The size and scope of the legislation is a testament to the problem’s complexity and need for multifaceted solutions, as well as the political pressure being felt on both sides of the aisle. In a new post on To the Point, the Commonwealth Fund’s Rachel Nuzum reviews key elements of the Opioid Crisis Review Act (OCRA) of 2018, including provisions on treatment, research, and enhanced data collection.

The legislation offers states and local communities more resources as well as more flexibility. These provisions are critical, Nuzum says, as the epidemic has had an impact not only on families but also on state and local budgets. In 2016, Medicaid, which is jointly funded by federal and state governments, paid 24 percent of all costs associated with medication-assisted treatment.

The next step for the legislation will involve negotiating differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill. While final negotiations on bills of this size are always delicate, Nuzum says that “the scale of the epidemic and its impact on families, communities, and our nation are simply too great to ignore.”

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