On October 24, 2018, President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan bill aimed at tackling the nation’s growing opioid epidemic.
America’s new opioid law is being called “historic in its breadth.”
The fact of the matter is, it is a historic law, and a law that is long overdue.
It’s a type of law that neither President Barack Obama nor President George W. Bush before him had any interest in fighting for while they were president. George W. was more interested in fighting in the Middle East, and Barack Obama was more interested in fighting the climate.
In all fairness, the congresses during the Bush and Obama years weren’t responsive to, or particularly interested in this issue either.
While all of this was going on, people across our country, from every social, economic and cultural strata were crying out for help in battling this insidious epidemic that knew no political affiliation or ideology.
It took the “divisive” and the “uncaring” President Donald J. Trump to stand up and champion this issue on behalf of Americans in every state and every city and town across this country.
This is the reason you may not have heard much about this new law. It has President Trump’s fingerprints all over it, and the “biased, liberal, fake news media” cannot bring itself to give President Trump credit for anything positive in nature.
Had this law been passed on Obama’s watch, it would have been “trumpeted,” no pun intended, by every “biased, liberal, fake news media” outlet in the land, as an answer to our prayers and as an example of how bipartisan cooperation can be accomplished.
The opioid legislation, officially titled “The Substance-Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act,” indicates clear progress in America’s fight against opioid addiction and treatment.
“The legislation is historic in its breadth and commitment to the problem,” Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health and senior advisor for Opioid Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told Yahoo Finance. “Whether it’s enough, it’s what we know to do right now. It’s the right legislation at the right time.”
“The new law targets over-prescription and opioid trafficking. While most of the specific costs are still unknown, the law directs $500 million a year toward the opioid crisis, and makes tweaks to hopefully give states more flexibility in using the funding.”
A key provision of the bill is the continuance of state opioid grants through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “This adds hundreds of millions of dollars to the states to treat [opioid abuse],” said Giroir.
“There are mothers who suffer from opioid abuse and providing medication assisted treatments to the mother helps them and dramatically decreases complications for the babies.”
Babies born to mothers suffering opioid abuse are at risk of developing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a form of drug withdrawal. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were an estimated 21,732 infants born from 2000 to 2012 with NAS, “equivalent to one baby suffering from opiate withdrawal born every 25 minutes.”
The number of deaths related to opioids has dramatically increased over the last 15 years. The new opioid legislation aims to curb this.
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway recently described the epidemic as “the crisis next door,” which is why the new opioid legislation made so much sense. “I think part of why it passed in a bipartisan fashion is because everybody sees the need back at home. Whether you represent a state or a congressional district, you just see the need back at home. Law enforcement, access to treatment. Certainly, education and prevention.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “more than 200,000 people died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids from 1999 to 2016.” In 2017, nearly 49,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses, with synthetic opioid fentanyl being the biggest driver.
Giroir said that the HHS is “constantly looking for new ways” to attack the opioid problem, the next step, he said, is increasing the availability of naloxone, an opioid reversal drug.
I’m sure there will be critics of this new law, but at least we have something out there now that we can even be critical of.
Thank you President Trump for one more “promise kept.”
Thank you to Adriana Belmonte, an associate editor for Yahoo Finance News for contributing to this article.
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