In February of 2018, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that it was initiating a legislative push intended to combat the opioid crisis. Lawmakers' announced goal is to push a measure responding to this crisis through the House by the end of May. In the weeks since, the House and Energy Health Subcommittee has reviewed several bills—eight as of March 9th—meant to improve patient safety and strengthen enforcement tools.
On March 8, 2018, Energy and Commerce announced the details of a second legislative hearing on this issue, which will take place on Wednesday, March 21, and Thursday, March 22. The Health Subcommittee will consider more than twenty bills relating to efforts to address the opioid crisis. Other subcommittees of the Energy and Commerce Committee are involved in the opioid fight, as the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation continues its ongoing investigation examining alleged pill dumping in West Virginia.
For more information, visit the Energy and Commerce Committee's page here.
The House is not alone in the opioid epidemic fight. On February 27, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a new effort, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Prescription Interdiction & Litigation (PIL) Task Force, which has been established to fight the opioid crisis. According to the DOJ's press release, this task force "will aggressively deploy and coordinate all available criminal and civil law enforcement tools to reverse the tide of opioid overdoses in the United States, with a particular focus on opioid manufacturers and distributors." For more information, see the DOJ's press release here.
The third branch of the Federal government is also involved. Multidistrict litigation is underway related to the opioid crisis, with the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio overseeing the consolidated case. The presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, has urged the parties to seek settlement, not only for the sake of resolving the case itself but to bring solutions to the underlying problems. This case can be followed here.