Energy & Commerce Hearing on Curbing the Opioid Crisis

On January 14, the House Energy & Commerce Committee held a hearing titled, “A Public Health Emergency: State Efforts to Curb the Opioid Crisis.” Although the hearing focused on the causes and consequences of the opioid crisis, several representatives and panelists present raised concerns about rising overdose deaths linked to methamphetamines. Rep. Diana DeGette’s press release states, “A bipartisan group of lawmakers – led by U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) – are raising concerns today about the increasing use of stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, among Americans in recent years.” Politico reports that according to preliminary CDC data, although drug overdose deaths appear to be down for the first time since 1990, meth-related deaths increased 21% between 2017 and 2018. Our team agrees that Congress should allow greater flexibility to spend federal dollars on broader drug treatment, not just opioids, and create more sustainable funding mechanisms for combatting the drug crises in rural areas, rather than relying on annual grants.