Murphy, Courtney Reintroduce Bipartisan Veteran HOPE Act to Combat Opioid Epidemic

November 10, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, Congressman Greg Murphy, M.D. (NC-03) and Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) came together to reintroduce H.R. 5938, the bipartisan Veteran Heroin Overdose Prevention Act (HOPE) Act to confront the opioid crisis in the veteran community.

If passed, the Veteran HOPE Act would direct the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct a review of veteran deaths from opioid overdoses over the past five years, including prescribed and non-prescribed opiate abuses, and other contributing factors to opioid overdoses among veterans. The bill also requires the VA to outline steps being taken on a federal level to address the opioid crisis, including tracking, collecting, and disposing of unused prescriptions, and to publish recommendations to improve the safety and well-being of veterans.

As a member of the North Carolina State Assembly, authoring the STOP Act, the main legislative action to combat the opioid crisis in North Carolina was one of my proudest achievements. Now, as a practicing physician of more than 30 years and a Member of Congress representing nearly 90,000 veterans, addressing the opioid epidemic among veterans is critically important to me,” said Rep. Murphy. “All of the data available suggests that veterans are disproportionately impacted by the opioid epidemic – and shockingly, veterans who are being treated by the VA are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with an opioid abuse disorder than commercially insured patients. What’s worse, between 2010 and 2016, the opioid death rate among veterans rose by a catastrophic 65 percent. These statistics are devastating and deeply alarming, and Congress must take action. Our bill, the Veteran HOPE Act, would conduct a review of opioid overdose deaths among veterans and examine other related factors to understand lethal overdoses from non-prescribed sources. I am grateful to my colleague, Rep. Courtney, for partnering with me on this crucial issue to increase awareness about the opioid addiction crisis in veteran communities and make overdose prevention a bipartisan priority.”

“There are far too many families in our region who have experienced tragedy because of the opioid addiction crisis, or who know someone that has, but what a lot of people don’t know is that this trend is particularly severe among our veterans,” said Rep. Courtney. “Even though the VA has made efforts to reduce the number of opioids prescribed, rates of opioid overdose deaths continue to rise among veterans. The Veteran HOPE Act will dedicate resources to investigating overdose deaths among veterans, and use VA records to better understand risk factors to help prevent lethal overdoses among those who have served our country. This bill is an important way to improve overdose prevention efforts in veteran communities like ours, and I’m glad to partner with Rep. Murphy to move it forward.”

Politico’s Huddle carried the exclusive on this announcement.