- In October 2017, the Board of Directors formed an opioids working group to develop materials to educate policymakers about the intersection of ID and opioid use and to make policy recommendations. The working group includes members of the Public Health Committee, Research Committee, HIVMA, and other interested volunteers. The group produced three documents: a comprehensive set of policy recommendations, a fact sheet outlining the issues at the intersection of ID and opioid use, and a letter to the NIH highlighting research gaps that needed to be addressed about the connection between opioids and ID.
- Surveillance of infectious diseases related to opioid use (including HIV, viral hepatitis, infective endocarditis and others).
- The need for infection prevention efforts.
- Workforce capacity issues.
- The need for models for coordinated treatment of addiction and infectious diseases.
- Research to address gaps in knowledge.
- Infective endocarditis (IE) is a key infection that IDSA members are seeing large increases among injection drug users but has been almost absent from the national conversation around opioids.
- The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee passed its comprehensive opioid recovery legislation in late April, which had been modified at IDSA's urging to include surveillance of opioid related infections (including HIV, viral hepatitis, and infective endocarditis) and to include clinicians who treat infections related to substance use in loan repayment opportunities through the National Health Service Corps.
House of Representatives Activities
- The House of Representatives passed the following similar bills, also including modifications sought by IDSA:
- Legislation authored by Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA) that authorizes surveillance of opioid related infections (including HIV, viral hepatitis, and infective endocarditis) as well as training for health care providers on the coordination of treatment of addiction and infectious diseases.
- Legislation by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Hal Rogers (R-KY) would provide loan repayment to health care providers caring for patients with substance use disorder (including those providers who treat the associated infectious diseases).
- House and Senate bills also authorize additional funding for many of these activities.
- IDSA will continue working with Congress toward a final legislative package. We are also working to promote increased funding to address the intersection of opioid use and ID in the federal budget.
Message for Congressional Offices on House Energy and Commerce Committee or Senate HELP Committee
- Thank you for your committee's attention to the opioid epidemic, including the infectious diseases complications. We are particularly supportive of the proposals to expand surveillance, provide loan repayment for providers and initiate provider training on coordination of care of addiction and related infectious diseases.
Message for all other Offices
- The opioid epidemic is causing a significant increase in related infectious diseases, including infective endocarditis, viral hepatitis, HIV and ot hers.
- We greatly appreciate legislation passed by the full House to expand surveillance of infectious diseases associated with substance use, provide loan repayment for providers and initiate provider training on coordination of care of addiction and related infectious diseases.
- We appreciate that Senate Committees have also advanced similar legislation and urge the full Senate to act quickly to send this legislation to the President.