Poll: Government not doing enough to fight drug abuse

Poll: Government not doing enough to fight drug abuse
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About two-thirds of the public think the government is not doing enough to fight opioid addiction, according to a new poll. 

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Sixty-six percent in the poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation said the federal government is not doing enough, while 67 percent said state governments are not doing enough, either. 

Overdose deaths from opioids, which include heroin and prescription painkillers, have risen sharply in recent years, killing around 29,000 people in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More Americans now die from drug overdoses than car crashes. 

Over 80 percent of the public said increased prescription training for doctors, more access to treatment programs, and monitoring doctors' prescribing practices would be effective in fighting the epidemic.

Forty-four percent of the public said they know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers. 

The issue has the attention of Congress, with the House now working on a range of bills for consideration next week.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill in March to fight the epidemic, called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The legislation aims to expand education efforts, increase the availability of a drug, Naloxone, to treat overdoses and bolster programs to monitor prescriptions for painkillers. 

Democrats criticized it for lacking new funding, but Republicans said the bill would redirect existing funding to effective programs. 

The House, though, will not take up CARA, instead working on its own slew of bills. 

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senator to donate 2 months of salary in coronavirus fight Senators pen op-ed calling for remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Some Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on MORE (R-Ohio), who has been leading the charge for CARA and faces a tough reelection race this year, released a statement in response to the Kaiser Family Foundation poll on Tuesday, calling again for the House to pass his bill.

“This survey is just the latest in a long line of evidence that this out-of-control epidemic is affecting every one of us — no matter our background, no matter where we live,” Portman said. “I agree that the federal government must do more and be a better partner with state and local officials who are on the front lines every day.”