How to deal with the growing opioid crisis
The number of Americans who died from opioid overdoses has skyrocketed in the past decade, and lawmakers are grappling with how to handle the problem, with a growing number of states enacting laws that could make it harder for people to get the drug.
As of January 1, there were 5,929 opioid-related deaths nationwide, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That is a 36 percent increase from the year before, and more than double the number of deaths from heroin and fentanyl combined, according the nonprofit advocacy group Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
The spike in deaths comes amid growing concerns about the growing use of opioids by the drug’s abusers and the growing number who die from them.
As the nation faces the worst opioid crisis since the Great Depression, lawmakers are working to deal effectively with the problem.
While they’re grappling with the issue, some lawmakers are making changes that could help ease some of the pain.
Sen. Brian SchatzBrian EmanuelSchatz: Kavanaugh nomination moves forward as Congress reviews allegation against Senate nominee The Hill’s Morning Report — Senate Judiciary panel to hear from witnesses on Kavanaugh nomination MORE (D-Hawaii) on Thursday introduced legislation that would give states more flexibility in their drug laws, saying that states should be able to set their own rules regarding how to administer the overdose death penalty, which was previously reserved for people who are deemed responsible for killing a police officer.
The bill was introduced by Sens.
John ThuneJohn RandolphThune: Kavanaugh, Kavanaugh nomination move forward as Trump approves FBI probeSen.
Tom CottonThomas (Tom) BryantCotton: ‘No one should be treated with kid gloves’ on opioids bill GOP Senate candidates to hold rally at Alabama rally, says Trump ‘will be disappointed’ by outcome MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyBill (Bill) PatrickCassidyGOP senators say they’ll vote to pass opioid bill despite GOP resistanceMcConnell to skip Senate GOP convention for convention in JuneMcConnell: ‘There’s no way’ Trump won’t be president, ‘but he’s going to be great’McConnell said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.
‘There will be no changes.’
He did not specify what type of changes he might propose to the bill.
“The opioid crisis is affecting millions of Americans and has been for decades, and it’s gotten worse since Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970,” said Cassidy, who is also a physician.
“So it’s time for Congress to take a fresh look at how to make sure we can have effective overdose prevention programs in place that are focused on the people who should be receiving the treatment.”
Sen. Ben CardinBen CardinThe Senate passes opioid bill for 2018, but only after Democrats fail to stop itCardin: No one should feel unsafe with fentanylCardin to hold press conference on opioid epidemic in Florida as opioid epidemic hits homeCardin says opioid crisis ‘has gotten worse’ since he became health ministerCardin, who has championed the legislation, said there are ‘a lot of unanswered questions’ about what types of medications people should be taking to manage opioid use.
“Some of the people that we see using opioids, like people who have died in the last two weeks, have not used heroin in the previous 30 days,” Cardin said.
“They’re people who use heroin to deal or to get high.
So there’s a lot of questions we have to answer as we go through this.”
If we don’t have these answers, then we’re going to miss the opportunity to address the issue,” he said.”
So I think the fact that we’re having this conversation right now is a sign that we need to take this seriously and that we have a lot to learn about this.
“Republicans have largely ignored Cardin’s bill in the Senate, though Democrats have introduced their own version that is more restrictive.
But the two-year delay in passing the bill was not a major issue in the 2018 midterm elections, with Democratic nominee Rep. Donna EdwardsDiana LaxaltEdwards: Biden must resign for Trump’s opioid commentsShe also supports the Biden bill that will be reintroduced in the HouseThe opioid epidemic has prompted some Republicans to say they are open to a bipartisan solution to tackle the crisis, with some even saying they are willing to work with Democrats to pass a bill.
On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham Lindsey Olin GrahamGraham, Biden and Trump must be ready to ‘get the ball rolling’ on opioid legislationGraham: Biden needs to resign over comments on opioid crisisSen.
Kelly AyotteKelly Ayotte: Biden ‘should be resigning for the opioid comments’Senate Republican leaders have not yet said whether they will support a Biden bill in their caucus, but several senators have signaled they will be willing to consider a bill that would allow states to impose penalties on people who sell, give, or possess opioids.
The issue has been a major focus of the opioid crisis, but has also gained national attention as Democrats have criticized