Taking the opioid fight to the national level

Congratulations to U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, and U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-Wheeling, for not only talking about the opioid addiction crisis but also authoring bills and having them passed by the full House of Representatives.

Johnson’s T.E.A.C.H. Act would provide incentives for schools teaching the next generation of medical professionals to add lessons about the dangers of overprescribing painkillers and lessons about alternatives. Such schools would receive a center of excellence designation under the Training, Education And Community Help Act, which would include a component of community partnerships in avoiding, fighting and aiding in recovery from addiction.

For McKinley, the P.O.W.E.R. Act takes aim at developing protocols for handling people coming to emergency rooms in a state of overdose. The Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms Act includes provision of Naloxone upon discharge as well as connection with peer counseling and referral to recovery services that best support a patient’s needs.

McKinley also authored the Alternatives to Opioids in the Emergency Department Act. ALTO seeks to establish a demonstration program to test alternatives in pain management for emergency room patients.

Johnson and McKinley are well versed in the issues of opioid addiction and can recite stories of constituents whose lives fell apart because of the rapid addiction to a painkiller after surgery or an injury.

They have taken the time to talk to medical professionals and to learn from constituents. They have done more than just hold hands and empathize. They took a lead role in trying to do something.

For that, they should be honored as doing what members of the House of Representatives do at their best: Find bipartisan solutions to the issues facing the folks back home.

It’s up to the Senate now to see if these bills become law, but it’s not often that the representatives on both sides of the Ohio River in our region have bills pass the full House on the same day.

June 12, politically, was a red letter day for the region.