U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly last week announced his support for bipartisan legislation that aims to help protect against the overmedication of our nation’s veterans and prevent veteran suicide. The Veterans Overmedication Prevention Act, introduced by the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), would commission an independent review of the deaths of veterans who died by suicide or drug overdose over the last five years while receiving care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and an assessment of the role that prescription medications may have played.
Donnelly said, “As our nation combats two terrible crises, the opioid abuse epidemic and the unacceptably-high rate of veteran suicide, we owe it to those who have served to better understand any correlation between overmedication and suicide. This bipartisan bill would bring independent experts together so that we have the information necessary to ensure veterans receive the best possible care and help determine whether overmedication of prescription drugs, including opioids, is contributing to veteran suicide.”
Donnelly has worked effectively and tirelessly over the past four-plus years to find commonsense, bipartisan solutions to combat military suicide and strengthen military mental health care, including through his Sexton Act and his Servicemember Mental Health Care Package. Donnelly has also helped pass legislation enabling veterans to access care outside the VA and has pushed for increased transparency and accountability at VA hospitals.