You should know the story of U.S. Marine veteran, Jason Simcakoski. Like too many of our veterans, Jason Simcakoski, went to the VA to get help, but instead got hooked on prescription drugs. Tragically, Jason Simcakoski died in 2014 from mixed drug toxicity while receiving care at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The Simcakoski family decided to turn their tragedy into hope for other military families. Working closely with Senator Baldwin, they crafted bipartisan legislation named in honor of Jason to reform the VA and stop the overprescribing of opiods at the VA.

Senator Baldwin and the Simcakoski family worked together to get the job done, building support for the legislation from Republicans and Democrats, veterans service organizations, and medical professionals across the country.

The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opiod Safety Act has strengthened opiod prescribing guidelines and implemented new oversight and accountability rules at the VA. It is also helping to provide safer and more effective pain management services for veterans across the country.

Marvin Simcakoski, in written testimony, stated the new legislation addresses concerns raised by an Inspector General’s report. “We need to stay vigilante and I am going to work my hardest to see that this legislation also gets across the finish line,” Marvin Simcakoski said in his testimony.

The Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opiod Safety Act was signed by President Obama July 22, 2016. The legislation includes Senator Baldwin’s bi-partisan bill written with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) to make naloxone rescue kits more affordable and accessible to our nation’s veterans by eliminating veterans’ copayments for naloxone.

In February of this year, Senator Baldwin was named “Outstanding Legislature of the Year” by the Disabled American Veterans.

“’The recipients of this year’s advocacy awards have demonstrated what it means to keep the promise to the men and women who served,’ said DAV National Commander Delphine Metcalf-Foster.”