September 26, 2023

Young, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Opioid-Related Infectious Diseases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), today reintroduced the Eliminating Opioid-Related Infectious Diseases Act. This bipartisan legislation would reauthorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) ongoing initiative to eliminate the risk of infectious disease caused by substance use disorder to continue through 2028. In 2018, Senators Young, Markey, and Baldwin secured the passage of legislation to expand the CDC’s initiative to collaborate with states to improve education, surveillance, and treatment of opioid use-related infectious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C.

The connection between HIV, hepatitis C, and injection drug-use is well-documented. This follows the CDC reporting an increasing number of hepatitis C infections over the past decade, most of which is due to injection drug-use. The high rates of transmission, especially among young people, highlights the continued need for these targeted programs to stop the spread of preventable diseases.

“As the opioid epidemic continues to devastate families in Indiana and across the country, we must ensure our communities have the tools necessary to help combat the spread of addiction and disease,” said Senator Young. “This commonsense legislation will support ongoing initiatives focused on eliminating the spread of deadly diseases associated with this epidemic.”

“The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis, and infectious diseases compound the health challenges faced by Americans suffering from substance use disorder,”said Senator Markey. “Our federal government has a duty to empower providers serving on the frontlines so they can treat every impact of this epidemic, including the spread of infectious diseases. The Eliminating Opioid-Related Infectious Disease Act gives Americans access to life-saving treatment through commonsense programs based on science. We need to lead with care that is compassionate to end this opioid and overdose crisis once and for all.”

“The fentanyl and opioid epidemic has far-reaching and deadly public health impacts, including spreading infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV,” said Senator Baldwin. “While I am fighting to stop these drugs from coming into our communities and boost treatment and recovery efforts, Washington also needs to step up to help states curb the spread of diseases related to this crisis. Our bipartisan bill will give communities the tools they need to help save lives and fight this public health crisis on all fronts.”

Full legislative text is available here.