House Passes Data Bill Aimed at Opioid Crisis

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill “that would give the Department of Health and Human Services additional responsibilities in combatting the opioid crisis using data,” writes FedScoop’s Tajha Chappellet-Lanier.

The bill, known as the Indexing Narcotics, Fentanyl, and Opioids Act of 2018 or INFO Act, “would direct HHS to create and maintain a public dashboard with open data from federal, state, local, academic and private sector sources on opioid use and abuse. The dashboard would also include information on existing HHS programs to counter opioid abuse and guidelines for health care providers treating those with substance abuse disorders.”

The dashboard mandated under the legislation would need to be built within six months, if the bill is passed.

The bill currently sits in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, which has not yet announced when or if it will move on the bill.

Chappellet-Lanier writes that the bill “would also create an Interagency Substance Use Disorder Coordinating Committee, with both federal and nonfederal members. Notably, at least two of the nonfederal members would be individuals who have ‘received treatment for a diagnosis of an opioid use disorder.’”

“While the magnitude of this crisis is evident in the number of opioid-related deaths, we’re still lacking basic information on the effectiveness of federal programs and other efforts,” said Congressman Bob Latta, the bill’s sponsor. “In order to develop the best plans to attack this problem, we need the best information. The INFO Act would improve data collection relating to addiction, prescription guidelines, treatment, pain management, patterns of abuse, and other areas in order to help find solutions. When it comes to this crisis, failure is not an option.”

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