DeSaulnier Obtains Key Proposals to Fight Opioid Epidemic: Adds Three Provisions to ONDCP Bill to Reduce Doctor Shopping, Promote Evidence-Based Research, and Require Independent Audits

May 24, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC — Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) successfully included three key provisions in a bill to reauthorize the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  The bill passed unanimously out of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and is expected to be on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote by mid-June.

“We are currently in the midst of the worst public health crisis in the past three decades—whole communities and families have been devastated by the effects of opioids, and over two million Americans are in the grips of opioid addiction,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “Combatting the opioid epidemic begins with a strong and coordinated effort by the federal government. I am pleased to have worked in a bipartisan fashion to include measures to help reduce doctor shopping, ensure our national drug policies are rooted in fact, and require necessary audits of the program charged with setting and carrying out the federal response to the opioid crisis.”

Two of DeSaulnier’s proposals were included in the final draft of the bill.  These proposals would:  

  • Reduce doctor shopping by facilitating the sharing of information between state and federal prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) to ensure that they are all interoperable.
  • Promote evidence-based research by charging the Director of the ONDCP to work with the President to establish national drug policies, goals, objectives, and priorities that are based on evidence and data, and not political opinion.

A third measure offered by DeSaulnier was unanimously accepted as an amendment to the bill during the committee proceedings. The amendment would:

  • Require periodic audits of the ONDCP and its programs by the independent, nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) to ensure that ONDCP is effectively carrying out its responsibilities to combat drug abuse through coordinated federal efforts.

In addition, today Congressman DeSaulnier and Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings sent a letter asking GAO to launch an additional investigation into the failure of President Trump to submit a National Drug Control Strategy during his entire term as President. The letter also asks GAO to investigate the impact of having no confirmed ONDCP Director for the past 16 months, and whether the agency is complying with requirements to certify that the President’s budget requests are adequate to achieve ONDCP’s overall goals of the Strategy.