Bipartisan Opioid Package Passes Senate

Comprehensive Legislation includes a Gardner Bill 

Washington, DC – The Senate passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act on Monday evening. This comprehensive bipartisan legislation works to reduce opioid use, expand treatment and recovery efforts, support caregivers and families impacted by the opioid crisis, drive innovation of non-opioid treatment and support substance abuse prevention efforts. 

Included in the package was Senator Gardner’s legislation, the Alternatives to Opioids in the Emergency Department Act.  This legislation establishes a three year demonstration program to test alternative pain management tools to reduce the amount of opioids being used in an emergency setting. Following the demonstration program, this legislation requires a report to congress with recommendations to establish pain management protocols to be spread across the country.

“We all know individuals and families that have been hurt by the opioid crisis,” said Senator Gardner. “There’s no one solution to stopping this epidemic that harms people of all backgrounds, but we can make sure that we are doing everything we can to fight it. This comprehensive bipartisan legislation has the potential to save lives, and I’ll continue to work with Democrats and Republicans on the issue.

“I was also happy to see my legislation to establish non-opioid pain management protocols in hospital emergency departments included in the package. We have to work together to do more to promote non-opioid methods to manage pain.” 

Additional Background on the Opioid Crisis Response Act

Reduce Use and Supply

  • Includes the STOP Act to help stop illegal drugs at the border, including stopping the shipment of synthetic opioids
  • Improves sharing of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs data between states

Encourage Recovery

  • Supports states with competitive grants to address substance use disorders
  • Improves access to health professionals, long-distance care, and recovery housing services

Support Caregivers and Families

  • Improves plans of safe care and support for substance-exposed babies and their mothers
  • Increases family-focused treatment and recovery
  • Helps youth with substance use disorders enter recovery
  • Provides supports in schools and early childhood education programs

Drive Innovation and Long-Term Solutions

  • Spurs development of new non-addictive painkillers
  • Addresses economic and workforce impacts of the opioid crisis
  • Ensures parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits



Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.