Brown, Portman help pass comprehensive opioid legislation in Senate

U.S. & World
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WASHINGTON (WDTN) – Monday, the Senate passed comprehensive opioid legislation including a number of bills championed by Senator Rob Portman and Senator Sherrod Brown.

The Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies (CRIB) Act will reinforce work done by treatment centers like Brigid’s Path, which is one of two residential treatment centers in the country that specializes in treating babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

“Babies born exposed to opioids are the most vulnerable victims of this epidemic,” says Brigid’s Path CEO Jill Kingston. “It is imperative to create a continuum of care for these babies, so that they and their families can get the right services at the right time in the right setting. Under current federal law, pediatric recovery centers like Brigid’s Path are not eligible to receive Medicaid reimbursement. But passage of the CRIB Act can change this by creating a pathway to Medicaid reimbursement for pediatric recovery centers like Brigid’s Path.”

The CRIB Act will help newborns suffering from NAS, a withdrawal condition often caused the use of opioids and other addictive substances in pregnant women.

Under the CRIB Act, Medicaid will be allowed to cover certain health care services provided to infants in residential pediatric recovery facilities in addition to hospitals, and babies receiving services in residential pediatric recovery centers can continue to receive services after one year of age and provide for activities to encourage caregiver-infant bonding.

“There isn’t a community in Ohio that hasn’t been touched by the addiction epidemic, and we are doing all we can to fight it,” said Senator Sherrod Brown. “Too many victims of this epidemic are the infants born to mothers who struggle with addiction. With the right care, newborns born with neonatal abstinence syndrome have every shot of growing up healthy. This is an important step forward in getting moms and babies in Ohio care that best fits their needs.”

Also passed by the Senate Monday was the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act.

The STOP Act will help keep dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped across U.S. borders to drug traffickers inside the country.

In the past, drug traffickers have exploited the U.S. Postal Service and shipped synthetic drugs into the country through the mail system.

The Act will close a loophole that allowed this to happen by subjecting the U.S. Postal Service to the same screening standards as private mail carriers and requiring them to provide Advance Electronic Data on international packages entering the U.S.

Law enforcement will more easily be able to identify suspicious packages, stop them in transit for testing, and keep more fentanyl from entering the country.

“Passing the STOP Act is a victory in our efforts to combat the newest and deadliest aspect of this opioid crisis: the overwhelming supply of cheap, deadly synthetic drugs like fentanyl,” said Senator Rob Portman. “By closing the loophole in our international mail system that drug traffickers have exploited to ship fentanyl into the U.S., we can help law enforcement keep this poison out of our communities. This legislation will give more Americans who are gripped by addiction the chance to live up to their God-given potential. Congress is committing itself to putting politics aside and delivering results for the people we represent, and I look forward to this legislation being signed into law soon.”

The House already passed the STOP Act on June 14, 2018.

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