NewsCongresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) recently introduced a bill, similar to legislation authored by State Senator Randy Head (R-Logansport) during the 2018 legislative session, that would set continued opioid education requirements for prescribers. The original concept was brought forward by Dr. Hannah Maxey, director of the Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research and Policy, and written by the Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health for Children, which Head co-chairs.

H.R. 5581, introduced by Brooks, would ensure practitioners who prescribe opioids receive continued medical education so they are adequately trained on topics like safe prescribing guidelines, risks associated with opioids, alternative pain management practices, early detection of drug abuse, and treatment options for patients suffering from addiction.

Earlier this year, Head authored similar legislation at the state level, Senate Enrolled Act 225, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Under SEA 225, if a licensed practitioner applies for registration or re-registration, he or she must have completed two hours of continued opioid prescribing and opioid abuse education during the previous two years.

“Our health care professionals must be up-to-date on how to handle opioid-related situations appropriately, and I thank Rep. Brooks for recognizing this crucial issue,” Head said. “Rep. Brooks’ office called mine while she was writing her bill to look over SEA 225. It’s a great honor that she is working in concert with Indiana’s state legislature on a federal level in order to combat an epidemic that is plaguing our community. With SEA 225 in place in our state and her bill introduced at the federal level, I hope to see opioid abuse reduced nationwide.”

H.R. 5581 was recently referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on the Judiciary.