U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., announced this week that his “Veteran Overmedication and Suicide Prevention Act” has the support of some leading veterans organizations.
Buchanan has been pushing the bill “to investigate the link between addictive opioids and veteran suicides” in recent years. He brought it back at the start of the year with U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., as the main co-sponsor. Other backers include Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Scott Franklin and John Rutherford.
The bill “would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to review the deaths of all veterans it treated who died by suicide or from a drug overdose in the last five years” and the “new data generated by the bill will be used to better treat veterans suffering from both mental and physical injuries.”
Buchanan announced on Wednesday that Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and AMVETS are all backing his proposal.
“The high rates of suicide and drug overdose deaths among veterans are unacceptable,” Buchanan said. “This legislation is critical to learning if prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers, are a contributing factor in suicide-related deaths of veterans”
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee at the start of the year. At the beginning of February, the committee sent it to its Subcommittee on Health.
So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org