Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) joined her colleagues in Congress this week to pass over 30 bills designed to combat the opioid crisis.

“It’s a tragedy, when in 2016 we lost more Americans to drug overdoses than died during the entire Vietnam War,” Hartzler said. “The vast majority of these deaths were due to opioid overdoses.  This week’s actions mark a turning point in our nation, when we rally together to address all aspects of this problem. I feel confident that we are making a difference and lives will be saved because of these actions.”

Among the many bills that passed this week were two that Hartzler cosponsored, including Jessie’s Law and the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues, or SITSA Act. Jessie’s law will ensure that doctors have better access to a patient’s addiction history in the hopes of preventing the potentially devastating prescription of addictive pain medications to patients who have histories of addiction issues.

The SITSA Act goes after synthetic opioids, such as Fentanyl, by updating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to more quickly list these highly toxic drugs.  Instead of waiting up to three years to add a new dangerous drug to the list of controlled substances, SITSA gives the Attorney General the power to quickly list new Fentanyl equivalents in a matter of months.

Hartzler noted that newly created synthetic opioids like Fentanyl are highly addictive and often come from foreign entities.  “Synthetic opioids present a new challenge to our law enforcement community,” Hartzler said. “We need to give law enforcement the tools they need in order to effectively deal with this problem and remove these drugs from the streets.”