"Rarely will the Senate be called upon to deal with an issue more complicated by prejudice, fear, and emotion, nor more presently or potentially destructive." That was the observation of then-U.S. Senate Chaplain Rev. Richard C. Halverson in 1990 on the day the body began to debate what would be known as the Ryan White Act. Then, the issue was AIDS, a deadly disease that was claiming tens of thousands of lives — including, that year, the bill's namesake, an 18-year-old Indiana hemophiliac who contracted HIV through a blood transfusion. One of those rare occasions is upon us again, and the parallels between the AIDS crisis and the present opioid overdose epidemic are striking. Prejudice, fear and emotion have again prevented us as a nation from taking the steps necessary to counter a disease that is taking tens of thousands of lives every year in cities and suburbs, small towns and rural communities. For that reason, we are heartened that Rep. Elijah Cummings and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts are taking the Ryan White Act as their inspiration for a sweeping new proposal to combat opioid abuse and overdoses. That landmark legislation from a generation ago provides not only a useful model for how the federal government can effectively counter a public health emergency but also for how public attitudes about a disease wrapped in stigma can and must change.