Carter: Stock House office buildings with opioid reversal meds

Federally approved opioid overdose reversal agents like naloxone and nalmefene should be stocked in U.S. House of Representatives office buildings near defibrillators, according to a Nov. 13 letter penned by U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA).

“Given the alarming and preventable synthetic opioid overdose rates across the nation,” the congressman wrote, “I urge you to give this immediate consideration given the scale of need at this moment.”

Rep. Carter, a pharmacist by trade, sent the letter to U.S. Reps. Bryan Steil (R-WI) and Joe Morelle (D-NY), chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Committee on House Administration; Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress; and Chere Rexroat, acting architect in the Architect of the Capitol office.

In Washington, D.C., the fentanyl overdose death rate is 48.8 per 100,000 residents, one of the highest rates in the nation, wrote Rep. Carter, calling on the Committee on House Administration, Office of Attending Physician, and Architect of the Capitol to lead by example in stocking opioid overdose reversal agents in every location where there is a defibrillator throughout the House office buildings. 

“As the synthetic opioid crisis continues to terrorize our country, there is no moral, medical, or safety-related reason for these life-saving overdose reversal agents to not be widely accessible for members of Congress and staff,” he wrote. 

The congressman pointed out that this action is especially true since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on March 9 approved the first over-the-counter naloxone nasal spray, a product that became available in late August.

“As evidenced by the overflow crowd at a naloxone training for congressional staff last September, there is demand for additional training and a desire among members of Congress and staff alike to be better prepared,” added Rep. Carter.

Rep. Carter’s letter models the Saving Lives in Schools Act of 2023, H.R. 4240, which he introduced on June 21 to require that opioid overdose rescue kits be located at public elementary and secondary schools. The bill remains under consideration in two House committees.