The opioid epidemic claimed the lives of more than 49,000 people last year who were suffering from an addiction to drugs like OxyContin or fentanyl. In response, the surgeon general told people to educate themselves on opioids and begin carrying naloxone, as it can reverse an overdose. The need for a new opioid legislation became high-priority, and last month, it finally passed.
Intended Changes from the Opioid Legislation
Last month, President Trump signed the Support for Patients and Communities Act, an opioid legislation that confronts the epidemic. The legislation includes more tactile law enforcement efforts and controlling over prescriptions by medical professionals, according to USA Today.
Various programs, prevention actions, finding less addictive drugs, as well as screening packages from overseas, are all a part of the new legislation. Changes to Medicare and Medicaid will also expand to cover opioid treatment and increase screenings.
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) explained to Vox that the bill will increase “long-term treatment and recovery while also helping stop the flow of deadly synthetic drugs like fentanyl from being shipping into the United States…”
Recent data has found that drug overdoses have slowed down since last year because of the efforts to assist the crisis.
Concerns About the New Opioid Bill
Nevertheless, there are concerns regarding the package and experts are questioning the proactiveness of the overall bill. Dr. Leana Wen told Vox the legislation is “simply tinkering around the edges” and what we need to see is a more hard-hitting solution to the crisis. The reason that experts are challenging the bill is that big money is required to provide the treatments and regulations promised by the President.
Experts say the opioid legislation isn’t necessarily terrible, but the public needs to see more improvement and initiative. Of course, this is a start in expanding the treatment of the opioid crisis but funding will be decided by Congress later on. Therefore, significant change will not occur. Republicans and Democrats working together to create an achievement in addressing this crisis is a step—although it may take some time for any concrete data to show improvements—it’s still a step forward.