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In Response to National Epidemic of Prescription Opioid Abuse, Aging Committee to Lead Hearing titled: Opioid Use Among Seniors: Issues and Emerging Trends

Hearing Scheduled for Wednesday, February 24, 2:30 PM, Dirksen Room 562

Washington, D.C.— The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing titled, “Opioid Use Among Seniors—Issues and Emerging Trends,” to examine a facet of one of the foremost public health challenges facing our nation: opioid addiction.  The hearing will be led by Chairman Susan Collins and by Senator Joe Donnelly, who will serve as the Ranking Member.          

Seniors are prescribed more opioids than people in any other demographic group.  These prescriptions provide critical pain relief to seniors suffering from ailments ranging from bone fractures to cancer.  Because seniors are so commonly treated with opioid painkillers, their home medicine cabinets often become an unintentional supply source for younger family members to either experiment with opioids or to fuel their addiction. 

This hearing will explore the medical use of opioids for pain relief and the challenges health care providers face in treating pain in an environment where the diversion of prescription painkillers is contributing to the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Witnesses for the hearing include:

Sean Cavanaugh, Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Washington, D.C.


Ann Maxwell, Assistant Inspector General, Office of Evaluation and Inspections, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.


Steven Diaz, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Emergency Medicine Physician, MaineGeneral, Augusta, ME

Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, Health Commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana


Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, Redlich Professor, Departments of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Neurosciences and Neurology, Chief, Division of Pain Medicine, Director, Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab, Stanford School of Medicine, California; Member of Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education