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Trump signs bipartisan bill to combat synthetic opioids

Trump signs bipartisan bill to combat synthetic opioids
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President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: LeBron James's 'racist rants' are divisive, nasty North Carolina man accused of fraudulently obtaining .5M in PPP loans Biden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies MORE signed a bipartisan bill Wednesday aimed at stopping powerful synthetic opioids from coming into the country illegally.

A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers attended the bill signing, a rare showing of bipartisanship with members of both parties seeking to show their support for tackling the issue.

The opioid epidemic has been ravaging the country, and the rates of overdose deaths from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl — which can be 50 more times potent than heroin — more than doubled from 2015 to 2016.

Vice President Pence stood behind Trump for the bill signing. The president was flanked by a gathering of other lawmakers including Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoWhite House sees GOP proposal as legitimate starting point Republicans unveil 8 billion infrastructure plan Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban MORE (R-W.Va.), Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyHillicon Valley: Acting FTC chair blasts Supreme Court decision limiting agency consumer power | Police tech under scrutiny following Chicago shooting Every day should be Earth Day Senate Democrats ask regulator to look into driver-assist systems after deadly Tesla crash MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanHouse votes to extend ban on fentanyl-like substances Schumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision MORE (D-N.H.) and Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulRepublican, Democratic lawmakers urge fully funding US assistance to Israel Hillicon Valley: Tech companies duke it out at Senate hearing | Seven House Republicans vow to reject donations from Big Tech House passes legislation to elevate cybersecurity at the State Department MORE (R-Texas), among others.

The bill, called the Interdict Act, passed the House by a vote of 412-3 last year and was adopted in December by unanimous consent in the Senate — which requires every senator to sign off.

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Specifically, it aims to give the U.S. Customs and Border Protection more chemical screening devices at entry ports and mail facilities; bolster the resources to interpret these screening tests; and authorize money for both actions.

“This law will help provide badly needed resources to those on the front lines who are protecting our country from the scourge of fentanyl. Fentanyl presents a grave threat to all Americans. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to give U.S. Customs and Border Protection the latest technological tools available to interdict this deadly drug,” Markey, who introduced the measure in the Senate, said in a release.

Trump has said he’s committed to curbing the opioid crisis and declared the epidemic a national public health emergency in late October.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats are ramping up the pressure for a larger spending package to include robust funding for the opioid epidemic.