Skip to Main

April 01, 2024

Schweikert Introduces Legislation to Expedite the Advancement of Treatments Targeting Addictive Substances

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, U.S. Representative David Schweikert (AZ-01) introduced the Substance Therapy Designation Act, legislation that would allow for opioid, cocaine, methamphetamine, and alcohol to be eligible for an FDA breakthrough therapy designation. The designation significantly expedites the development and review of such treatments. On top of that, the bill ensures that the designation process for such treatments receives an even further fast-track.

Arizona has seen an immense increase in fentanyl coming across its border with Mexico illegally since the climax of President Biden’s border crisis. Just within the Nogales sector, Customs and Border Protection has seized over 8.5 million fentanyl pills since December 2023. 

In a report put forth by the Arizona Department of Health Services, the total cost for opioid-related hospitalizations was $2.2 billion in 2022. In fact, the Arizona Republic reported back in 2022 that fentanyl was the most common component in many Arizona opioid overdoses. In Maricopa County, an average of three deaths occur per day due to fentanyl overdoses.

“In the month of March alone, United States Border Patrol has seized almost 15,000 pounds of controlled substances,” said Rep. Schweikert. “With the Substance Therapy Designation Act, I hope to be able to save more children that are falling victim to the continuing influx of these illicit drugs. This bill speaks to my continuing fixation of making our brothers and sisters healthier, while at the same time, promoting the safety and treatment from these addictive substances.”

Background on the Substance Therapy Designation Act:  

  • The first vaccine to combat cocaine addiction was formulated at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. The drug is currently undergoing further clinical trials.
  • A research team at the University of Houston plans to start manufacturing a clinical-grade vaccine that targets fentanyl after trials conducted with immunized rats were proven successful.
  • The UH potential vaccine works by blocking fentanyl from entering the brain. 
  • The bill requires the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to grant a fast-track designation to opioid, cocaine, methamphetamine, and alcohol treatments, such as the treatments listed above. 
  • The bill also requires the HHS Secretary to grant priority review to such treatments. 

The full text of the bill can be found here.

###Congressman David Schweikert serves on the Ways and Means Committee and is the current Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee. He is also the Vice Chairman on the bicameral Joint Economic Committee, chairs the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force, and is the Republican Co-Chair of the Blockchain Caucus, Telehealth Caucus, Singapore Caucus, and the Caucus on Access to Capital and Credit.

Back to News