Tester introduces bipartisan bill to help reduce prescription drug abuse among veterans
New legislation will provide safer and more effective pain management services at the VA
(Big Sandy, Mont.) - Senator Jon Tester, Montana's only member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, has introduced bipartisan legislation that will provide safer and more effective pain management services to Montana veterans.
Tester's bill, the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act, requires stronger opioid prescription guidelines and increases coordination between the VA, other health providers, patients, and their families regarding treatments for chronic pain. The bill also holds the VA accountable for appropriate care and quality standards by mandating consistent internal audits, GAO reviews, and reports to Congress on the use of opioids among veterans.
"Many veterans return from war with serious injuries and chronic pain. This bill will ensure that the VA is doing the very best it can to treat veterans while also helping eliminate prescription drug abuse," Tester said. "This bipartisan bill will increase accountability at the VA and provide veterans and their families' additional resources to help improve pain management."
In addition to improving opioid therapy and pain management, the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act will help strengthen patient advocacy, expand access to additional health and wellness, and enhance VA hiring and internal audits.
The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act was crafted with consultation from medical professionals and veterans service organizations. The bill has been endorsed by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Veterans for Common Sense, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Association of the United States Navy (AUSN), National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), American Veterans (AMVETS), American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Trust for America's Health (TFAH).
On August 30, 2014, U.S. Marine Veteran Jason Simcakoski died at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin as a result of mixed drug toxicity.
The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act is available HERE.