Lawmakers step off Capitol Hill to explore solutions to opioid crisis

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee met at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Tuesday to discuss the growing opioid crisis.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee met at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Tuesday to discuss the growing opioid crisis. Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said naloxone should be available to anyone who needs it, but that drug companies continue to raise the price of the drug and "communities have been forced to ration it." Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, chairman of the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, suggested governments buy naloxone in bulk. Meanwhile, Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) noted that he believes physicians have a significant role to play in combating this epidemic. "I want to make sure the DEA and DOJ are effectively going to the source of prescriptions issued outside the course of a professional medical practice," Gowdy said. "The issue comes down to those of good continence earnestly seeking a solution and those of a malevolent continence bent to profit off of other people's addiction and pain." Hearing witness Caleb Alexander, MD, co-director, Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said all doctors should be required to use prescription drug monitoring programs. Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen, MD, also noted that medical health professionals often struggle to provide services due to lack of funding. "We do not have the treatment capacity, people looking to us for help fall through the cracks, overdose, and die," she said.