“Since 2007, lawmakers have grappled with the problem, hearing testimony from family members with horror stories of drugged veterans and former troops with multiple prescriptions, taking narcotics or opioids and benzodiazepines with deadly results.
Lawmakers have tried to pass legislation to improve prescribing transparency at VA, increase access to care for substance abuse disorders and provide options at VA for pain management using other than narcotic painkillers. But most attempts have failed.
This week, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., will try again.
Smarting from reports that she failed to follow up on problems at the Tomah VA, as well as an investigation published in January by the Center for Investigative Reporting that said the facility was known as “Candy Land” among veterans for its painkiller dispensing habits, Baldwin will introduce legislation to strengthen VA’s oversight of opiate drug prescriptions and pain management programs.
Baldwin’s proposed Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety bill would create a number of safeguards to protect veterans and improve VA medical care. It would require VA and the Defense Department to update clinical practice guidelines for opioid therapy for pain; mandate training for VA doctors who prescribe opioids; and create pain management boards in all VA regions that would oversee compliance of pain management practices at each VA facility.”
Source: MilitaryTimes.com – June 16, 2015