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Gillibrand Urges Congress To Pass Bill To Reduce Overprescription of Opiods

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin


U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is urging the Senate to pass a bipartisan bill aimed at reducing the overprescription of opioids for acute pain following medical conditions like surgery or the setting of a broken bone.  

Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Gillibrand said she’s heard too many parents tell her how they have lost their children to opioid addiction, which began with an overprescription of painkillers like Percocet or OxyContin.    

"They get prescribed this medication for getting a wisdom tooth out, for a broken wrist. A medicine they really only need for 2 or 3 days. But why in heaven’s name are they sent home with 30 oxycodone pills?" she said.

Gillibrand urged her colleagues to pass the bill she’s co-sponsoring with Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

The bill would be an amendment to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which the Senate is considering this week.

Gillibrand’s bill would get the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to set up rules for doctors to manage acute pain for their patients.  

"Our amendment is very simple. It would require the CDC to issue clear guidelines to our medical community for when it’s appropriate to prescribe opiates, instead of something non-addictive like Extra Strength Tylenol," she said.

Right now, the CDC only has guidelines for opioids prescribed to treat long-term chronic pain that can last weeks, months or years.

Gillibrand says similar guidelines for acute pain would help prevent putting patients at risk for addiction.   

Ann is an editor and senior content producer with WSHU, including the founding producer of the weekly talk show, The Full Story.