The House of Representatives has passed a barrage of comprehensive bills to combat the opioid crisis.
In total, 50 bills were passed in Congress.
President Donald Trump has made tackling the opioid epidemic one of his top priorities. The recent legislation will help the president with his initiative, launched on March 19, to fight the epidemic. It includes programs for reducing demand and overprescription, cutting off the supply of illegal drugs, and helping those struggling with addiction.
“We applaud the House of Representatives for passing over 50 comprehensive bills,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on June 22. “These necessary bills will help save American lives through prevention and education, treatment and recovery, and law enforcement and interdiction.”
The House voted 396–14 to send the list of bills, of which nearly all were bipartisan, to Senate. The bills were wrapped in a single package, the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.”
Other legislation outlined in the package will seek to expand Medicaid coverage and alter the requirements to assist in the treatment of those affected by opioids.
Sanders said that the “lifesaving bills” would help advance key elements in Trump’s initiative and would be “the most significant congressional effort against a single drug crisis in United States history.”
Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die from an opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
In October 2017, the president designated the epidemic as a nationwide public health crisis. As part of the new budget bill, the administration will provide $4.6 billion to combat the issue—an increase of $3 billion.
In early May, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) collected and destroyed nearly 1 million pounds—almost 475 tons—of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, as part of the 15th annual event held by the department.
The amount of pills collected, from close to 6,000 sites across the nation, makes it the most successful event of its kind in DEA history.
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