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Tonko & Johnson Introduce Bill to Designate Centers of Excellence to Combat Opioid Epidemic

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Washington, March 13, 2018 | comments
“Empowering our health care workforce to better understand and effectively prevent and treat substance use disorder will yield dividends in our fight against the opioid epidemic,” Rep. Tonko said. “I’m proud to stand with Congressman Johnson in introducing this critical legislation that will strengthen the tools and information we use to educate the next generation of health care professionals and ensure they have the resources they need to be effective frontline responders in this epidemic.”
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WASHINGTON – Today Congressmen Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) introduced H.R. 5261, the bipartisan Training, Education, and Community Help (TEACH) to Combat Addiction Act, a bill that establishes a competitive process to designate institutions that are educating current and future health care professionals on substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, prevention, and recovery as Centers of Excellence in Substance Use Disorder Education.

“Empowering our health care workforce to better understand and effectively prevent and treat substance use disorder will yield dividends in our fight against the opioid epidemic,” Rep. Tonko said. “I’m proud to stand with Congressman Johnson in introducing this critical legislation that will strengthen the tools and information we use to educate the next generation of health care professionals and ensure they have the resources they need to be effective frontline responders in this epidemic.”

“Medical professionals and health care providers, alongside community organizations, are on the front lines of the opioid and addiction epidemic,” Rep. Johnson said. “With the rate of emergency room visits related to overdose increasing over the past year in virtually every state, the urgency of preparing the health care workforce to more effectively address substance use disorder is clear.  The TEACH to Combat Addiction Act advances an all-hands-on-deck approach the opioid crisis by leveraging the expertise of health care educational institutions with community partnerships to develop scalable models for integrating SUD prevention, treatment, and recovery more fully into health professional education. I thank Congressman Tonko for joining me in introducing this important legislation.”

The opioid epidemic claims the lives of 115 Americans daily. The TEACH to Combat Addiction Act responds to this crisis by establishing a competitive process to designate institutions that are leading the way in educating tomorrow’s health care professionals on SUD treatment, prevention, and recovery as Centers of Excellence in Substance Use Disorder Education.

The bill also formally authorizes the NIH Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs) program, which is run through the NIH Pain Consortium.  The CoEPEs act as hubs for the development, evaluation, and distribution of pain management curriculum resources for health professional schools to enhance and improve how students are taught about pain and its treatment.

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