Federal Issue Brief

 S.507/H.R. 1925, Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2011

AVMA Policy:

Nonsupport

Current Status:

S. 507 was introduced on introduced on 3/8/2011 by Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) and referred to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. H.R. 1925 was introduced on 5/13/2011 by Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV-3rd) and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Judiciary Committee.

Summary:

The Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2011 would provide for increased Federal oversight of prescription opioid treatment and assistance to States in reducing opioid abuse, diversion, and deaths.

Veterinarians seeking licensure by DEA would be impacted specifically by the "Section 4 Practitioner Education" provision. To be registered to prescribe or otherwise dispense methadone or other opioids, a practitioner would have to comply with the 16-hour training requirement at least once during each 3-year period.

Key Points in Opposition:

  • The Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2011 is clearly aimed at the human medical profession. The bill is designed to help physicians reduce patient addiction and diversion. Its application in veterinary medicine is scant as veterinarians do not prescribe opioids to the extent that they are prescribed for people. Most of the opioids veterinarians use are injectable products for anesthetic procedures and are not dispensed.
  • The AVMA has concerns about diverting current federal funds toward this new activity and whether 16 hours of training is the correct number needed for veterinarians. While obtaining additional pain management training with respect to animal health might be a reasonable request for veterinarians, asking them to extend beyond animal health to recognize and treat human addictions or screen for them is inappropriate.
  • This training would be burdensome to veterinarians with no clear indication that it would impact human addiction or diversion.

AVMA Contact:

Dr. Ashley S. Morgan, Assistant Director, Governmental Relations Division, 202-289-3210.