Two members of the Florida congressional delegation are asking U.S. Attorney General William Barr to implement a law intended to help solve the opioid crisis.
This week, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., signed onto a letter regarding "brokers" treating patients with addiction.
“Often times, brokers treat patients struggling with addiction as commodities to be traded to disreputable facilities for finders’ fees of up to tens of thousands of dollars. Florida has already established this practice of patient brokering as a felony under the Patient Brokering Act during the 2019 legislative session. Last year, the issue was addressed federally when President Trump signed into law the SUPPORT Act which included provisions that would prohibit kickbacks for patient referrals to recovery homes and clinical treatment facilities,” Bilirakis’ office noted on Thursday.”
That being the case, the congressmen asked Barr about the “the number of cases charged under the SUPPORT Act, the percentage of those cases which resulted in convictions, and the average sentence associated with those convictions" and urged the Department of Justice “to outline any additional resources...it may need to address patient brokering.”
Bilirakis weighed in on Thursday as to why he signed the letter.
“The crooked incentive system created by patient brokering treats patients as nothing more than a paycheck and often leaves them out on the streets,” Bilirakis said. “In the fight against opioid abuse, it is important for the House to practice its oversight duties – especially when patients’ lives are at stake. I look forward to Attorney General Barr’s response to our inquiry. In the meantime, I remain committed to working in a collaborative manner with state and local government officials, law enforcement officers, families, and patients to help the millions who suffer from opioid addiction while ensuring those who are prescribed medications have access to them. We must keep our communities safe and healthy.”