Curtis Introduces Biparty Legislation to Allow Patients to Take Control of Their Pain Treatment


Biparty bill allows patients to choose non-opioids

Washington DC-Today, Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) joined with Representatives Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), David B. McKinley (R-WV) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), to present the bipartite project Non-Opioid Directive Act (NOD), which would allow patients to notify healthcare professionals that they do not wish to be treated with opioids.

“There is no question that Congress must continue to address the growing opioid crisis in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people socially isolated and without access to adequate behavioral health care or drug treatment services ”, Curtis said. “It is equally important to focus on total prevention of drug addiction, which is why I am proud to support the Non-Opioid Directive Act. This common sense legislation gives patients greater control over their health care by giving them the ability to opt out of opioid use for all of their future health care needs. I look forward to working across the aisle to get this important legislation passed. “


The COVID-19 pandemic has just exacerbated this situation, with an expected 30% increase in overdose deaths, estimating that they could exceed 90,000 by 2020. These deaths are mainly due to opioids and synthetic opioids such as than fentanyl.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died of opioid overdoses in 2019. That same year, about 10 million people abused prescription pain relievers. The CDC estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid abuse alone in the United States is $ 78.5 billion per year, including health care costs, lost productivity, treatment of drug addiction and criminal involvement.

Highlights of the legislation below:

  • Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop an opioid-free pain management guideline that will be included in a patient’s medical record.
  • It is voluntary. An individual can revoke a self-executed non-opioid pain management form at any time and in any way. A guardian or patient advocate can also revoke the form for a minor at any time and in any way.
  • Requires that each group health plan or health insurance issuer make the form available to each member; and requires every group health plan or health insurance provider to include a notice to health care providers about the individual’s choice for opioid-free pain management.
  • Requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to provide a copy of the Non-Opioid Pain Management Form during annual registration, specifically asking the person to register or register remove
  • Allows an exception for providers to override the guideline in the event that a patient receives emergency treatment or receives the opioid during surgery; and in the opinion of the treating health care professional, after due consideration of other options and inquiring into a history of opioid use, administration of the opioid is medically necessary.
  • The legislation extends full liability protections (criminal and civil) to providers who mistakenly administer an opioid when a patient has signed a directive or for failing to administer or prescribe an opioid.

To read the NOD Act text of the invoice, Click here.

To read the NOD Act a pager, Click here.


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