Tester Combats Opioid Addiction Among Veterans

Senator Introduces Opioid Safety Legislation, Urges VA Officials to Reform Prescribing Practices

(U.S. Senate) - U.S. Senator Jon Tester is demanding safer opioid prescribing practices for veterans and wants top VA officials to implement immediate reforms.

Tester today introduced the Opioid Community Care Safety Act, which allows the VA and local providers who care for veterans through the VA's community care programs to share records and craft a safe treatment plan for veterans who have a history of opioid addiction.

"By working together, we can help prevent the over-medication of our veterans, whether they go to the VA or to their local doctors for their health care," said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. "Veterans deserve the very best health care, and this bill encourages safer pain management for them."

During an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing today on preventing veterans' opioid overmedication, Tester called on the VA to continue implementing their new guidelines for prescribing opioids. He also questioned top officials about whether community providers are prescribing too many opioids to veterans.

Tester's Opioid Community Care Safety Act also requires providers who partner with the VA through its community care programs to educate staff on the VA's updated opioid prescribing guidelines and to make sure any opioid medications prescribed to a veteran are properly included in that veteran's medical records. This will help VA and community doctors choose a safe treatment plan for veterans who receive health care from multiple providers.

More information about today's hearing can be found online HERE.