House advances Brooks’ bill to bolster national Poison Control Network
The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday approved bipartisan legislation U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) authored to turn the Poison Control Network into part of the nation’s preparedness and response to the opioid crisis.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to put a stop to the deadly opioid crisis that is devastating Hoosiers and Americans across the country,” Rep. Brooks said on Feb. 25. “However, this bill is a critical piece of the puzzle because it allows the national network of poison control centers to help people who are struggling with addiction by offering free, confidential and expert medical advice at all hours, every day of the year.”
The congresswoman pointed out that the data compiled by poison control centers also is used to identify hot spots for opioid abuse and misuse.
“With this reauthorization, we will be able to continue combating the opioid epidemic and save lives,” she said.
The House-approved Poison Center Network Enhancement Act of 2019, H.R. 501, sponsored on Jan. 11 by U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), would amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize federal funds for and enhance the Poison Control Network’s toll-free number (800-222-1222), national media campaign and grant program, among other purposes, according to the congressional record.
“I am so pleased the House passed this important piece of bipartisan health care legislation so quickly,” said Rep. Engel earlier this week. “The Poison Control Network is a valuable tool to help keep families safe and plays a vital role in combating the ongoing opioid crisis.”
If enacted, H.R. 501 also would stipulate that poison control centers could assist with preparedness and response to public health emergencies; and would request that enhanced communications capabilities, such as texting, be established for use, according to Rep. Brooks’ statement.
The U.S. Senate received H.R. 501 on Feb. 26 and referred the proposed bill to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee for consideration.