House Committee Holds Hearing on Opioid Education and Treatment Bills Led by Congressman Kim

April 14, 2021
Press Release

House Committee Holds Hearing on Opioid
Education and Treatment Bills Led by Congressman Kim

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing reviewing two bills led by Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) that would help in the fight against opioid addiction and deaths.

“I’ve heard from so many families across New Jersey who have seen opioid addiction hit their families hard. They’re stories I carry with me every day and ones that have driven me to lead on these two important pieces of legislation,” said Congressman Kim. “These bills represent a path forward to helping those on the frontlines better fight this battle and those suffering with opioid addiction get help. I’m proud to see the progress and will keep fighting until these are passed into law.”

The first bill, the Synthetic Opioid Danger Awareness Act, would direct CDC to conduct a public education campaign that raises public awareness of the dangers of synthetic opioids and explains the services available with respect to opioid treatment. The bill would also require the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to make materials for first responders (and other highly exposed workers) on synthetic opioid exposure prevention measures publicly accessible on their website.

The bill was introduced with Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) and is endorsed by organizations on the front lines of the fight against synthetic opioids including the National Council for Behavioral Health, Shatterproof, U.S. First Responders Association, National Association of State EMS Officials, and International Association of Fire Fighters.

“The abundance of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids on American streets remains a serious threat to fire fighters and emergency medical responders,” said Edward A. Kelly, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters. “From my many years as a Boston fire fighter, I know just how easy it is for fire fighters to inadvertently come into contact with these deadly substances on the job.  Continuing education on fentanyl and synthetic opioids is essential for the safety of fire fighters and paramedics. The IAFF supports Representative Kim’s Synthetic Opioid Danger Awareness Act, and we thank him for his leadership on this critical issue.”

The second bill, co-sponsored by Congressman Kim, is the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, which would expand access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by eliminating a duplicative bureaucratic hurdle—known as the “x-waiver”—currently blocking millions of highly trained health professionals from prescribing buprenorphine to their patients.

"Congressman Andy Kim is a strong and committed leader for people and families struggling with substance use disorder," said Erin Schanning, President of End SUD and a big sister who lost her little brother to an overdose. "We applaud Congressman Kim for co-sponsoring the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act. This common-sense, bipartisan solution will prevent overdoses, increase participation in treatment, and reduce stigma. Our loved ones with substance use disorder can get better. The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act will help ensure that all Americans with opioid use disorder can access the affordable, high-quality treatment they need to heal." 

In his first term in Congress, Congressman Kim helped deliver $500 million in funding to develop new treatments for those with opioid and addiction issues, met with local leaders and families dealing with the opioid epidemic, and held a town hall meeting to discuss potential solutions for New Jersey. Congressman Kim is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Committee on Small Business. More information about Congressman Kim can be found on his website by clicking here