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Senate Passes Opioid Crisis Response Bill that Includes Booker and Menendez-Authored Provisions

Booker/Menendez based legislation on New Jersey hospital’s successful alternatives to opioid program

September 18, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 that was passed by the US Senate today includes provisions authored by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez (both D-NJ) that will help hospitals and emergency medical departments identify and implement best practices for finding alternatives to the use of opioids.

The provisions are from Booker and Menendez’s bipartisan Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) in the Emergency Department Act, which was also cosponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) and introduced by Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) in the House of Representatives.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act will now move to a House-Senate conference committee before further action to advance opioid response legislation to the President.

“Ending the opioid epidemic requires a comprehensive and compassionate strategy that both treats those struggling with addiction and helps prevent new cases,” Booker said. “One New Jersey hospital has led the way in finding alternatives to opioids that manage pain effectively and stop addiction before it starts. We believe that their innovative approach can be a model for the rest of the country, and are encouraged to see further progress in ensuring that their success can be replicated in communities across the country.”

“The opioid crisis has affected families all across New Jersey and I’m glad we passed this comprehensive legislation to seriously address this epidemic,” said Menendez. “St. Joe’s is at the forefront of innovative thinking and is making real strides in finding alternatives to opioids in treating pain. This creative thinking and willingness to approach health care delivery in new ways is critical to moving our health care system forward, tackling the scourge of addiction, and saving lives. We want to see every hospital and provider across this nation follow St. Joe’s lead, and this bill is a big step toward making it possible.”

According to, thus far in 2018, an average of more than eight New Jerseyans each day have died of drug overdoses, a drastic increase from years past fueled by the opioid epidemic.

In 2016, Booker, Menendez, and Pascrell joined hospital officials for the announcement of St. Joseph’s ALTO program, as well as a roundtable discussion with health professionals and advocates to discuss ways to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic.

As part of his ongoing commitment to battling the opioid epidemic, in 2017 Booker convened a roundtable discussion in Ocean County with Brick Township Mayor John Ducey, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, health professionals, advocates and New Jerseyans to discuss the heroin and opioid addiction crisis in New Jersey and how the Affordable Care Act has helped expand treatment for individuals battling addiction across our nation.  Following that discussion, Booker was successful in advocating for the expansion of the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), a federal drug prevention program, to include Ocean County and assist efforts to battle the opioid epidemic.

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