The report found that spending for commonly abused opioids among Medicare beneficiaries exceeded $4 billion in 2015, raising concerns about misuse and patient safety
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today issued the following statement on a new report from the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showing that nearly 1 in 3 on Medicare received prescriptions for commonly abused opioid painkillers. The report found that spending for these opioids among Medicare beneficiaries exceeded $4 billion in 2015, raising concerns about misuse and patient safety.
“This report is yet another alarming example of the urgent need to confront our nation’s opioid addiction epidemic,” said Klobuchar. “I helped lead the bipartisan Comprehensive Action and Recovery Act in the Senate and more recently joined with other senators to introduce legislation to expand access to substance abuse treatment. We need to continue to work together to tackle the scourge of opioid addiction that continues to take lives each day.”
Klobuchar has long led local and national efforts to curb drug abuse and help people overcome addiction. Klobuchar’s bipartisan bill, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), recently passed the Senate. This bill would encourage states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies in the fight against addiction. Klobuchar and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) recently introduced the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act (LifeBOAT), which would establish a permanent funding stream to provide and expand access to substance abuse treatment. In September 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) implemented Klobuchar’s bipartisan Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act. Under the legislation, consumers are provided with more safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused prescription medications and controlled substances. As Hennepin County Attorney, drug cases accounted for one-third of her office’s total caseload.