Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation are tackling opioid abuse among veterans.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin has introduced H.R.5829, the VA Opioid Prescribing Rates Accountability Act, which would apply to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"The bill simply requires the VA to show its doctors their individual opioid prescribing rates compared to their peers. The top 10 percent of the prescribers each year must then receive additional training on pain management," Mullin told the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Sen. Jim Inhofe has introduced an identical bill in the U.S. Senate.
The VA launched an opioid use tracking program in 2013 in the wake of a study finding veterans were twice as likely to die from accidental overdoses of the drugs than non-veterans.
According to the VA, about 13 percent of the 68,000 veterans currently taking opioids have some sort of opioid-use disorder. Until recently, the VA relied almost entirely on the prescription drugs to treat chronic pain.
"Reducing the opioid prescribing and highlighting alternative pain management is something we can all support," Mullin said.