A new bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate aims to fight the opioid epidemic in rural areas of the United States.
Sense. John Osoff (D-Ga.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) together introduced the bill (PDF), called the Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act.
Provisions include codifying a Department of Justice program that provides grants to help rural communities cope with opioid overdoses; transferring some federal funding to rural areas from the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act 1968; and to examine gaps in prevention, treatment and recovery services for those caught with the law.
“Like many Georgians, I have lost friends to the opioid epidemic. My bipartisan bill with Senator Grassley will fund efforts to prevent and treat addictions and save lives in rural communities,” said Osoff, who was in his first are in term, said in a statement.
“We have made some progress in fighting the opioid crisis, but with overdose deaths, Congress needs to act. Our bill will help communities in Iowa and across the country prevent and handle any surge in opioid overdoses. I look forward to passing this bipartisan law and working to prevent more Americans from becoming drug addicts, including those in the criminal justice system,” said Grassley, a longtime senator. , he said.
Reps. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) and Randy Fenstra (R-Iowa) introduced a companion bill to the House of Representatives earlier this year. Bipartisan support in both legislative chambers signals that the bill may pass in a closely divided Congress.
Americans have struggled for years with opioids, a class of drugs most commonly prescribed as pain relievers. Heroin, which is illegal, and synthetic drugs like oxycodone are opioids.
The increase in drug overdose deaths in 2020 was primarily attributed to opioids. They were found to be a factor in nearly three quarters of the 93,331 estimated deaths.
Researchers have found that stricter regulations imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic led to more deaths, including more deaths from drug overdoses.
The new bill received support from the National Rural Health Association, the Small and Rural Law Enforcement Executives Association, and the Face and Voice of Recovery.
“We urge Congress to enact the Rural Area Opioid Prevention Program Act to sustain significant efforts to reduce overdose in high-risk rural areas and create opportunities for more individuals and families to achieve long-term recovery from addiction. do,” Patty McCarthy, CEO of the latter group, said in a statement.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times