Category Archives: Health

Rep. Graves Continues Fight Against Opioid Epidemic

Washington, D.C. – Following up on House passage of more than 30 bipartisan bills last week to fight the opioid crisis, the House passed 10 additional bills this week combating the epidemic, with Rep. Tom Graves’ (R-GA-14) support.

“This week, the House built on the progress we made last week in addressing the horrific opioid epidemic, which is killing more than 115 Americans every day,” said Rep. Graves. “The bipartisan bills we passed this week enhance prescription drug monitoring programs, provide grants to combat fentanyl and strengthen communities ravaged from the epidemic by improving access to federal resources. These bills will save lives, keep families together and help restore communities.”

Highlights of these bills include:

  • Allowing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to help medical professionals implement best practices for prescribing opioids to reduce the number of prescriptions;
  • Requiring Medicaid providers to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program before prescribing Schedule II controlled substances;
  • Directing prescription drug plans under Medicare Part D to provide information on the negative effects of overusing opioids;
  • Allowing Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans to suspend potentially fraudulent payments to a provider or supplier pending an investigation;
  • Requiring Medicare and Medicaid Services to publish guidance for hospitals on pain management and strategies to prevent opioid addiction for beneficiaries;
  • Enhancing the Food and Drug Administration’s enforcement tools to ensure accurate and timely research about frequently administered opioids.

Click HERE to read details about each of the bills the House passed over the last several weeks to combat the opioid epidemic.

WIC Farmers Markets Coming to North Georgia!

Delicious fresh fruits and vegetables available this summer at several Farmers Markets presented by North Georgia’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) services.

WIC Farmers Markets in North Georgia

Families on the WIC program who attend will be provided $30 worth of produce one time this year.

Location and dates below:

  • Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center, 218 N. Frederick Street, Dalton – Thursday, June 14th, 8 AM – 2 PM
  • Murray County Health Department, 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth  – Tuesday, June 19th, 8 AM – 2 PM
  • Pickens County Health Department, 60 Health Way, Jasper – Tuesday, June 19th, 8 AM – Noon
  • Whitfield County Health Department – Thursday, June 21st, 8 AM – 2 PM
  • Fannin County Health Department, 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge – Thursday, June 21st, 8 AM – Noon
  • Gilmer County Health Department, 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay – Tuesday, June 26th, 8 AM – Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Canton Health Center, 1219 Univeter Road, Canton – Tuesday, July 3rd, 8 AM – Noon
  • Dalton’s Mack Gaston Community Center, 218 N. Frederick Street, Dalton – Thursday, July 12th, 8 AM – 2 PM
  • Pickens County Health Department, 60 Health Way, Jasper – Tuesday, July 17th, 8 AM – Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Woodstock Health Center, 7545 North Main Street, Woodstock – Wednesday, July 18th
  • Fannin County Health Department, 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge – Thursday, July 19th, 8 AM – Noon
  • Whitfield County Health Department, 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton – Thursday, July 19th, 8 AM – 2 PM
  • Murray County Health Department, 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth – Tuesday, July 24th, 8 AM – 2 PM
  • Gilmer County Health Department, 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay – Tuesday, July 31st, 8 AM – Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Canton Health Center, 1219 Univeter Road, Canton – Wednesday, August 1st, 8 AM – Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Woodstock Health Center, 7545 North Main Street, Woodstock – Wednesday, August 15th, 8 AM – Noon
  • Fannin County Health Department, 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge – Thursday, August 16th, 8 AM – Noon
  • Pickens County Health Department, 60 Health Way, Jasper – Tuesday, August 21st, 8 AM – Noon
  • Gilmer County Health Department, 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay – Tuesday, August 28th, 8 AM – Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Canton Health Center, 1219 Univeter Road, Canton – Wednesday, September 5th, 8 AM – Noon
  • Cherokee County Health Department, Woodstock Health Center, 7545 North Main Street, Woodstock – Wednesday, September 19th, 8 AM – Noon

For more information, call (706) 370-4700.

House Unanimously Approves Carter Opioid Bills

The United States House of Representatives unanimously approved three bills today introduced by Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga.) as part of his ongoing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Carter is the only pharmacist currently serving in the U.S. Congress.

“We are losing 115 Americans a day from an opioid overdose,” said Carter. “We cannot sit idly by as this epidemic takes more parents, sons, daughters, friends and neighbors. It is plaguing our nation and no community is safe. These bills work to provide important tools to combat this crisis and I thank my colleagues in the House for approving them today. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to consider these bills as soon as possible.”

The House passed three bills introduced by Carter including:

  • The Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act. Currently, federal law prohibits a medical practitioner from dispensing controlled substances through the internet without first evaluating the patient in-person. This legislation, the Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act, instructs the Attorney General to take the necessary steps to allow for the prescription of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and other controlled substances via telemedicine. It requires a special registration to connect patients with the treatment they need without risking important safeguards to prevent misuse or diversion.
  • The Abuse Deterrent Access Act. Abuse deterrent formulations (ADFs) represent a breakthrough technology that helps prevent the crushing, snorting, and injection of painkillers.  Currently, many prescription drug plans present access barriers for chronic pain patients to ADFs including cost-sharing tiers, fail-first requirements, and prior authorization requirements. Instead of receiving ADFs, often patients are limited to using traditional opioids that can be easily diverted, crushed, snorted, and injected. Carter’s legislation, the Abuse Deterrent Access Act of 2018, directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a study on barriers to accessing abuse deterrent opioid formulations for chronic pain patients enrolled in Medicare.
  • The Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act introduced with Representative Mark DeSaulnier (D-Ca.). This legislation would require federal agencies to develop and distribute materials to better educate pharmacists on when they are allowed by law to decline to fill a prescription for a controlled substance. These circumstances include the suspicion of fraud, forgery, or other forms of alteration.