New law introduced in Washington aimed at holding VA accountable for over prescribing

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 17,2015)- A new law was introduced in Washington, D.C. following a FOX59 investigation.

Currently, VA facilities across the country are not required to report their prescribing practices to state-operated databases. Many states currently use a database to hold doctors and patients accountable.

Representative Jackie Walorski (R-Ind), introduced H.R. 4297 to the house on Thursday. The bill would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to disclose certain information to state controlled substance monitoring programs.

The legislation is aimed at holding VA facilities accountable for their prescribing practices and to hopefully save veteran lives.

"Our VA's are not voluntarily giving up information to our state database. This little bill says they must and it is no longer going to be voluntary," said Rep. Walorski.

​FOX59 initially reported on the federal inspection conducted by the DEA at the VA in Marion. According to court documents, there is no other facility in northern Indiana that distributes more powerful and addictive prescription pills.

Representative Jeff Miller (R-Fla), serves as  the chairman of the House Committee of Veterans Affairs.

"If you don't make the VA do something they will simply not do it until they are required," said Rep. Miller.

The VA Committee is tasked with authorization and oversight of the VA.

"The Walorski bill will go a long way to shrink the drugs that could come out of VA and make it on the street," said Rep. Miller.

"There is no greater cause than to be in a position to stop lives from being taken and snatched away over something like an overprescribed drug that's extremely powerful ," said Rep. Walorski.

"They automatically start giving you pills," said Stephen Tarter, a Marion Va patient.

Tarter is one of those vets who will be impacted by this legislation. He's a patient at the Marion VA who says he was quickly hooked and overprescribed.

"As my body builds up a tolerance they just gave me more more and more," said Tarter.

"Help is on the way," said Walorski.

The VA responded to a request for comment via email:

"VA will examine this proposed legislation. At this point, however, we do not have formal views on the bill."

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