JOHN THOMAS DECKER ACT OF 2016; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 74
(House of Representatives - May 11, 2016)

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[Pages H2268-H2270]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                     JOHN THOMAS DECKER ACT OF 2016

  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 4969) to amend the Public Health Service Act to direct the 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide for informational 
materials to educate and prevent addiction in teenagers and adolescents 
who are injured playing youth sports and subsequently prescribed an 
opioid, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 4969

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``John Thomas Decker Act of 
     2016''.

     SEC. 2. INFORMATION MATERIALS AND RESOURCES TO PREVENT 
                   ADDICTION RELATED TO YOUTH SPORTS INJURIES.

       (a) Technical Clarification.--Effective as if included in 
     the enactment of the Children's Health Act of 2000 (Public 
     Law 106-310), section 3405(a) of such Act (114 Stat. 1221) is 
     amended by striking ``Part E of title III'' and inserting 
     ``Part E of title III of the Public Health Service Act''.

[[Page H2269]]

       (b) Amendment.--Title III of the Public Health Service Act 
     is amended by inserting after part D of such title (42 U.S.C. 
     254b et seq.) the following new part E:

                     ``PART E--OPIOID USE DISORDER

     ``SEC. 341. INFORMATION MATERIALS AND RESOURCES TO PREVENT 
                   ADDICTION RELATED TO YOUTH SPORTS INJURIES.

       ``(a) Report.--The Secretary shall--
       ``(1) not later than 24 months after the date of the 
     enactment of this section, make publicly available a report 
     determining the extent to which informational materials and 
     resources described in subsection (b) are available to 
     teenagers and adolescents who play youth sports, families of 
     such teenagers and adolescents, nurses, youth sports groups, 
     and relevant health care provider groups; and
       ``(2) for purposes of educating and preventing addiction in 
     teenagers and adolescents who are injured playing youth 
     sports and are subsequently prescribed an opioid, not later 
     than 12 months after such report is made publicly available 
     and taking into consideration the findings of such report, 
     develop and, in coordination with youth sports groups, 
     disseminate informational materials and resources described 
     in subsection (b) for teenagers and adolescents who play 
     youth sports, families of such teenagers and adolescents, 
     nurses, youth sports groups, and relevant health care 
     provider groups.
       ``(b) Materials and Resources Described.--For purposes of 
     this section, the informational materials and resources 
     described in this subsection are informational materials and 
     resources with respect to youth sports injuries for which 
     opioids are potentially prescribed and subsequently 
     potentially lead to addiction, including materials and 
     resources focused on the dangers of opioid use and misuse, 
     treatment options for such injuries that do not involve the 
     use of opioids, and how to seek treatment for addiction.
       ``(c) No Additional Funds.--No additional funds are 
     authorized to be appropriated for the purpose of carrying out 
     this section. This section shall be carried out using amounts 
     otherwise available for such purpose.''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Kentucky (Mr. Guthrie) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gene Green) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Kentucky.


                             General Leave

  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to 
include any extraneous material in the Record on the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Kentucky?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4969, the 
John Thomas Decker Act of 2016, introduced by my colleagues, Mr. Meehan 
of Pennsylvania, Mr. Kind of Wisconsin, Mr. Rooney of Florida, and Mr. 
Veasey of Texas.
  Young athletes have been disproportionately impacted by the opioid 
epidemic currently plaguing our country. One study found that 
adolescent males who played sports were twice as likely to be 
prescribed opioids than their peers and four times more likely to abuse 
them than nonathletes. Writing a prescription for opioids in a 
population that may not fully grasp the risk associated with the drugs 
can be dangerous and lead to unintended negative outcomes.
  H.R. 4969 amends the Public Health Service Act to direct the 
Secretary of Health and Human Services to study what information and 
resources are available to youth athletes and their families regarding 
the dangers of opioid use and abuse, nonopioid treatment options, and 
how to seek additional addiction treatment.
  The Secretary would then be required to report the findings and work 
with stakeholders to disseminate resources to students, parents, and 
those involved in treating a sports-related injury.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  I rise in support of H.R. 4969, the John Thomas Decker Act.
  A crisis of this magnitude requires a multiprong, robust response 
across the full continuum of those exposed to and affected by 
addiction. People suffering from addiction are originally prescribed or 
exposed to opioids in a wide variety of circumstances, one of which is 
through youth sports injuries.
  H.R. 4969, the John Thomas Decker Act, will bring needed education on 
the danger of opioids and the benefits of alternative approaches to 
pain treatment to youth sports.
  The John Thomas Decker Act will direct the Centers for Disease 
Control and Prevention and the National Center for Injury Prevention to 
examine and report on what informational materials and resources are 
currently available to teenagers and adolescents participating in 
sports on the dangers of opioid use and misuse, alternative treatment 
options, and how to seek treatment for addiction.
  Based on the findings of this report, the legislation directs the CDC 
and the National Center for Injury Prevention to develop and 
disseminate such informational materials as necessary.
  Young people playing sports who incur an injury for which painkillers 
are frequently prescribed can be uniquely vulnerable to addiction if 
they or their parents, guardians, and coaches are not well informed of 
the potential for misuse, abuse, and addiction.
  H.R. 4969 will play a role in helping curb the epidemic opioid abuse 
and heroin use by ensuring adequate and appropriately tailored 
resources for our Nation's youth.
  I thank the bill sponsor, Representative Meehan, for introducing this 
legislation. I encourage my colleagues to support the John Thomas 
Decker Act.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. Meehan).
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues from both sides of the 
aisle for their strong support of this very, very important bill, which 
will use the resources of the Centers for Disease Control in very 
important outreach to young people, particularly student athletes.
  Now, we have heard heart-wrenching stories all day long about the 
tremendous growth of the use of opioids. In fact, 207 million 
prescriptions were written in 2013 for opioids. Unfortunately, that has 
led to about 2.1 million Americans who are hooked on opioids.
  And when the opioid is not available, we have begun to see them 
switch to a cheaper alternative, which is heroin. 450 million Americans 
are currently hooked on heroin.
  I know in my own State of Pennsylvania we lose seven people a day to 
heroin addiction. We are seeing it in the important nature of the 
comprehensive bills that have been put forward today. We are seeing it 
in veterans. Many are coming back with traumatic injury and are finding 
release in the opioids. We are seeing it in pregnant mothers and the 
impact that it has in children. One of the single biggest increase is 
in women, mothers who are over 30.
  One of the niches that is often underappreciated, but remarkably 
dangerous, is young student athletes. The reason being is that young 
student athletes are more inclined than just about anybody else to 
suffer sports-related injuries. Some of those injuries can be serious, 
and what we are seeing is a high rate of prescription of opioids for 
some of these athletes.
  Now, in the NCAA, you have a little bit more oversight. Even there, 
we see abuse. Almost 26 percent of college-level athletes will use 
opioids at some point in time, many without prescriptions.
  Where the real danger comes down is at the high school level. I have 
the good privilege of chairing one of the youth sports caucuses with my 
good friend, Mr. Kind of Wisconsin. We deal with a broad variety of 
issues promoting healthy activity and youth sports, but we are seeing a 
piece of this challenge right now in which we are watching the opioid 
addiction and problems with young athletes.
  Eleven percent of high school athletes will use painkillers without a 
prescription. That is something that I talked to one of the trainers in 
my high school, a student trainer, about how kids who want to play in 
the game will hide their injuries and self-medicate. What a danger that 
is.
  This brings me to the young man who inspired this bill, the John 
Thomas Decker Act. This is John Thomas Decker. I had the privilege of 
knowing John personally and knowing his wonderful family.
  John was an incredible athlete. I watched him play football. He set a 
receiving record that was held for nearly a decade in our region of 
Pennsylvania.
  He went on to play lacrosse at Cornell University in a program that 
won

[[Page H2270]]

a national championship. So John was the consummate blue-chip athlete 
and a wonderful kid to boot. He was a great student and a great leader.
  But John, like so many other kids, fought through the pain because he 
wanted to play. So what he did was he self-medicated and began to deal 
with the issue of opioid addiction.
  Now, John worked his way through it as an athlete, but later in life 
returned again to using opioids and, ultimately, heroin. Ultimately, it 
led to his death.
  His story inspired me to say we have to do something about it because 
many high school kids just like John who are playing through the pain 
believe that, because they are using the opioids and because they are 
prescription medicines, somehow there is no danger of any kind of 
addiction or otherwise, that somehow it is nowhere near as dangerous as 
heroin. Yet, it is unfortunately too easy.
  In fact, one of the other misconceptions is: I don't have to worry 
about a dependency. But the medical authorities have confirmed that 
daily use for even a short period of time, just a few weeks or even 
days, can create the kind of psychological dependency in which there is 
the beginning of the misuse of the opioids.
  One of the things we begin to see as well is, as the opioid begins to 
lose its protective effect, they will take more and higher doses in 
order to have the same pain-killing capacity. So they start to move 
further on down the chain.
  Oftentimes they are able to kick it for a period of time. But when 
they come back, they will go back to using the opioid at the higher 
level than they once did before. Imagine the implication of that.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, the CDC is in a position now to be able to 
utilize the resources it has to do a better study of making sure that 
we are aware of the information and resources that are being made 
available to those who are in the privity of relationship with these 
students--these can be coaches; these can be school nurses; these can 
be the students themselves--and then come up with a plan for us to be 
able to distribute this in an effective manner, all the way down 
through the network.
  There can be appropriate use under medical care with the kind of 
attention to concerns about addiction so that, where there is 
legitimate pain--we don't want to suggest that there is never a use, 
but this will now create the kinds of guidelines in which there is 
genuine oversight if opioids are introduced.
  This will also give the kinds of guidelines to local trainers and 
others, even local physicians, about taking more time to assess the 
backgrounds of individuals that they are giving the opioids to, not 
appreciating perhaps that a young man may be dealing with depression or 
other kinds of things, a binge drinker in association with that opioid 
that could lead to death.
  All of these things are things that could be part of the CDC's 
approach to doing much better education so that we can prevent the next 
young star athlete like John from coming into opioid addiction and 
ultimately leading to his demise.
  Let us let John's voice be heard. Let us use this as the opportunity 
to ensure that future student athletes are not addicted to opioids.
  Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Georgia (Mr. Carter).
  Mr. CARTER of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from 
Kentucky for his work on this bill.
  I rise today in support of H.R. 4969 because opioid addiction does 
not discriminate based on age.
  H.R. 4969 requires the CDC to report on information regarding 
prescription opioid abuse after youth sports injuries. According to a 
study by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 12 
percent of male athletes and 8 percent of female athletes have used 
prescription opioids in the last 12 months.
  According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services 
Administration, 80 percent of these teenagers and adolescents made the 
switch to heroin after abusing opioid painkillers, according to the 
U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This is 
completely unacceptable and 100 percent preventable.
  Every effort should be made to ensure that our youth are protected 
from the trap of drug abuse. That is why I am supporting H.R. 4969. We 
need all the information available so we can take the right steps to 
ensure our youth are protected.
  I encourage my colleagues to support this bill.
  Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I have no further speakers.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote for H.R. 4969.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 4969, 
the ``John Thomas Decker Act of 2016.''
  Our nation values the importance of transparency and availability of 
public information regarding prescription drugs.
  This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to require the 
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention to report on the availability of 
information regarding prescription of opioids after youth sports 
injury.
  This report includes the information on opioid use and misuse, injury 
treatments that do not involve opioids, and treatment for opioid 
addiction.
  The report must determine the extent this information is available to 
teenagers and adolescents who play youth sports, their families, youth 
sports groups, and health care providers.
  Opioids are drugs with effects similar to opium, such as heroin and 
certain pain medications.
  In addition to stimulants and central nervous system (CNS) 
depressants, prescription opioids are one of the three main broad 
categories of medications that present abuse liability.
  Due to prescription opioids' similarity to heroin and morphine, they 
present an intrinsic abuse and addiction liability for non-medical 
purposes.
  Opioid, heroin, and morphine act on the same brain systems.
  In an effort to increase their euphoric effects, the ``high'', people 
tend to take them in their most dangerous and addictive methods.
  Understanding the dangers of these addictive drugs highlight the 
importance of John Thomas Decker Act, which increases awareness and 
educating the youth people of the adverse effects of opioids.
  H.R. 4969 also allows for public transparency in making available 
public reports, informational materials, and resources are available to 
teenagers, their families, and health professionals.
  Our country has acknowledged the importance of preventive healthcare 
and education within our nation.
  Providing education to those directly or indirectly associated with 
opioid usage enables them to have control over their thoughts and 
actions, offsetting the potential for drug abuse.
  I support this legislation because it will help protect the integrity 
of consumers through implementation of effective preventative 
strategies.
  H.R. 4969 provides the National Center for Injury Prevention and 
Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with specific 
responsibilities for dissemination.
  H.R. 4969 is a positive step in the right direction and I urge my 
colleagues to join me in supporting its passage.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Guthrie) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 4969, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________