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June 20, 2018

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House Passes Bills to Address ID, Opioids and Workforce

The House of Representatives passed two bills on June 12 that IDSA and HIVMA advocated strongly for to address the infectious diseases impacts of the opioid epidemic--the Eliminating Opioid-Related Infectious Diseases Act of 2018 and the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act of 2018.  These bills will expand surveillance of infections (including HIV, hepatitis B and C, endocarditis, and other communicable health threats) associated with substance use disorders, authorize provider training to coordinate care for both infectious diseases arising from substance use and addiction, and provide loan repayment for health professionals caring for patients with substance use disorders (including those treating related infections).

These bills are part of a package of legislation passed by the House to address the opioid crisis, and the effort reflects a bipartisan commitment to confronting the combined public health threats of the growing opioid epidemic and the outbreaks of infectious diseases the crisis has fueled. IDSA, HIVMA and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society issued this statement lauding the bills’ passage and calling upon the U.S. Senate to advance these measures so that they may rapidly become law.  Provisions very similar to these bills are part of a broader Senate opioid response bill that was passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the spring and is expected to be considered by the full Senate this summer.

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