Tester Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse

Senator’s bill will invest in research to treat chronic pain

(Big Sandy, Mont.)-Senator Jon Tester has introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce prescription drug abuse, improve research for chronic pain treatment, and identify alternatives to opioids.

Tester’s Safe Treatments and Opportunities to Prevent (STOP) Pain Act will direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to increase research to better understand pain treatment, identify new therapies for chronic pain, and develop alternatives to opioids for effective pain treatments.

“We must look for innovative ways to treat chronic pain without relying on drugs that can have such a harmful impact on our society,” said Tester. “Investing in research and development is the surefire way to come up with solutions to our nation’s addiction crisis.”

With limited treatment options, medical professionals prescribe opioids to patients for pain relief. Opioids, such as morphine, codeine, and oxycodone are classified as narcotics, highly addictive, and dangerous when abused.

One Montana company, SiteOne Therapeutics, is on the cutting edge of developing alternative treatments for pain.

“This legislation opens the door to truly meaningful advances in the manner in which acute and chronic pain will be treated in the future, while helping to address the troubling consequences of addiction and abuse of opioids,” said Stan Abel, Chief Executive Officer of SiteOne Therapeutics, based in Bozeman, Montana. “At SiteOne, our focus is developing novel non-opioid therapeutics to help treat acute and chronic pain in a manner that significantly reduces the need for opioids. Given our early stage of research, we are thankful for Senator Jon Tester’s leadership and for this bipartisan legislation that recognizes that innovative new therapies are a vital part of the positive future for treatment of pain.”

According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, from 2011-2013 prescription drug overdoses were responsible for at least 369 deaths in Montana and more than 7,200 hospital inpatient admissions and emergency department encounters statewide. Currently, about 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain each day.

Earlier this month, Tester supported the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to expand opioid drug education to vulnerable populations including teens and seniors. Tester is also sponsoring bipartisan legislation that will provide safer and more effective pain management services to Montana veterans.

The STOP Pain Act is cosponsored by Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.).