Gary Mendell’s son Brian was a bright, promising kid who suffered from a disease. But because the disease he suffered from was addiction, Brian was never treated like a patient. He was treated like an outcast. The shame and stigma of this disease always weighed heavily on Brian, even as he began to recover. That’s why six years ago while still substance-free, but seeing no end to his suffering, Brian took his own life.
Yesterday, Gary shared Brian’s story at the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health roundtable focused on “Personal Stories from the Opioid Crisis.” Gary and each of the seven other panel attendees talked about their heartbreaking experiences, sharing how opioid addiction has impacted their friends, their family, and themselves.
Along with sharing his own personal connection to this overwhelming public health crisis, Gary presented the subcommittee with eleven proposed initiatives. These include mandating a three-day limit on first-time opioid prescriptions for acute pain, requiring providers to check Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs before prescribing a controlled substance, enforcing mental health parity laws, and improving electronic health recording technology for behavioral health providers to streamline care coordination.
Following the roundtable, Gary met with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to discuss ways to improve their Opioid Crisis Response Act as the Committee heads to a mark-up of the bill next Tuesday. He also met with Representative Steve Stiver’s office to discuss his bill, the RESULTS Act, which would require that federal funding only go to evidence-based prevention and treatment programs.
We’re so glad to see these Congressional committees making serious efforts to produce meaningful legislation to combat this crisis. Shatterproof looks forward to working with the committee during the markup period next week to help get this through to the finish line.
You can watch the webcast of the roundtable discussion here.