US pass new laws to combat opioid epidemic
The US has passed new laws that will seek to combat the current epidemic of opioids across the country.
The bills provide for substance abuse treatment, education and law enforcement efforts to tackle the issue of opioids. In a sharply divided house on many issues, these bills received wide bipartisan support winning the vote by 413-5.
In recent times, both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have drawn attention to the problem, issuing new guidance and recommendations to physicians, prescribers, dispensers and patients, alike.
The need for such action is great, as CDC director Tom Frieden pointed out: “More than 40 Americans die each day from prescription opioid overdoses, we must act now.”
Several representatives made impassioned speeches in support of the new laws.
Joe Courntney, from Connecticut, presented maps showing where opioid abuse and overdose was at its worst. He said: “We have an epidemic in this country which far surpasses any challenge presented by a natural disaster. If we had an attack on the homeland that took the number of lives that these maps represent, this Congress would be on fire.”
We recently looked at the issue of opioid misuse and efforts made to tackle it in a special feature in the May edition of Pharmafocus. You can read that here.
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