Healthcare

Trump signs sweeping bill aimed at tackling opioid crisis

President Trump 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. 

{mosads}”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 Warren (D-Mass.) and Elijah Cummings (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.

Tags Donald Trump Elijah Cummings Elizabeth Warren
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