Trump signs sweeping bill aimed at tackling opioid crisis

Trump signs sweeping bill aimed at tackling opioid crisis

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE on Wednesday signed sweeping legislation meant to curb the nation's opioid epidemic. 

The bipartisan bill, which passed Congress earlier this month, includes dozens of treatment, prevention and enforcement provisions authored by hundreds of lawmakers representing states ravaged by the epidemic. 

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"Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America," Trump said during a ceremony at the White House. 

"We are either going to end it or we are going to make an extremely big dent in this terrible, terrible problem."

More than 49,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2017, according to provisional numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The bill reauthorizes funding for the 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed in 2016 and puts $500 million a year toward the opioid crisis. It also lifts some restrictions on using Medicaid funding for opioid treatment and creates new grant programs for local and state governments and organizations fighting the epidemic. 

A hallmark provision of the bill aims to stop the flow of deadly synthetic opioids into the U.S. from other countries by requiring the U.S. Postal Service to obtain electronic data on international mail shipments that can be used to target suspicious packages for inspection.

Shipments through private carriers are already required to submit this data, but lawmakers say the protections must be extended to the Postal Service to close a loophole that is allowing synthetic opioids like fentanyl to enter the country. 

While the bill was bipartisan, Democrats wished it had dedicated more funding to the epidemic. 

A separate bill authored by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Warren introduces universal child care legislation MORE (D-Mass.) and Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCummings requests interview with Census official over new allegations on citizenship question Cummings requests interview with Census official over new allegations on citizenship question Top Dems question legal basis for appointing Cuccinelli as temporary immigration chief MORE (D-Md.) would provide $100 billion in funding over 10 years to address the crisis. 

 The bill Trump signed Thursday cost around $8.5 billion, but that money was already authorized by Congress earlier this year.