Rep. David Trone is calling on Congress’ Office of the Attending Physician to provide information and training about carrying and administering the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone.
“I urge you, in your capacity as Attending Physician, to provide naloxone information and training to interested congressional offices,” he wrote in a letter Wednesday to Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician.
The Maryland Democrat and his staff underwent training so they can be prepared to respond if they come in contact with someone who has overdosed on opioids. He’d like more lawmakers and congressional staff to get training and information about stemming opioid deaths by either carrying naloxone themselves or making it more widely available. Naloxone is often known by the brand name Narcan.
Many states and jurisdictions, including Washington D.C., have initiated standing orders that allow the general public to carry the medication, which can be administered as a nasal spray.
“Let’s take one step together by ensuring the availability of naloxone information and training in Congress,” wrote Trone.
The issue is especially important to the Maryland Democrat because his nephew Ian suffered a fatal fentanyl overdose in 2016.
“I don’t want any more families to experience what Ian and my family went through. We have the power to change this by reducing the stigma associated with opioid use disorder and by providing training to administer naloxone,” he said in the letter Monahan.
The Office of the Attending Physician provides medical assistance for members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, staff and others. Basic services include flu shots and in some cases lead testing and care. The office is led by a medical officer from the U.S. Navy and Congress shares the costs of the office with the Navy. The OAP already offers other training for staff and members, including CPR and first aid.
Trone has also taken the lead of a new Freshmen Working Group on Addiction. Members of the working group meet regularly with experts and plan to visit sites including research and treatment facilities. They have also taken a vocal stance in promoting legislation aimed at tackling the epidemic.
Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers supports expanded training for naloxone.
“Naloxone will be far more effective with increased training across the board, along with treatment referral information for those battling the cycle of substance use disorder,” said Rogers. “I applaud my freshman colleague across the aisle for proactively looking for life-saving solutions as we battle the drug abuse epidemic.”
Rogers and Trone both attended the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit last month in Atlanta, where attendees shared best practices and policy ideas to address the opioid epidemic.
“The multi-faceted opioid epidemic requires all hands-on-deck to save lives and prevent the deterioration of another generation,” said Rogers.