Congress is trying to tackle the opioid epidemic as deaths from the crisis are mounting. But will lawmakers’ efforts help?

DEATHS ATTRIBUTED TO alcohol, drugs and suicide increased at a record pace of 11 percent in 2016, representing more than 14,000 additional deaths from the year before, according to a report published by Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust. The number of deaths from suicide and alcohol- and drug-induced fatalities in the United States reached a record 141,963 — or one every four minutes — in 2016, a new analysis by the Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust finds.

The question you have to ask yourself is would it change by changing or adding restrictive laws? If I am on a cycle on descent, can Congress say me…. can I be that controlled?


Many public health advocates applaud the House’s effort, while some say there’s still more work to be done to curb an epidemic that sees an estimated 115 Americans dying per day of an opioid-related overdose. This underscores the challenge for congressional leaders as they attempt to tackle this perplexing public health program.

Key quote: “These bills are a good step forward, but we need additional focus and resources and investment to really turn the tide of the opioid epidemic,” said Rebecca Farley David, vice president of policy and advocacy at the National Council for Behavioral Health. “I think they have taken action on some very important issues.”

Farley David though has concerns about bills centering around grant-funded initiatives. Grants are needed, but they’re time-limited, she said, and more permanent solutions are necessary so the grantees don’t have to worry that their funding will get cut off in a few years.
Last week: Congress passed 38 bills last week related to the opioid epidemic, mostly with little opposition (Democrats largely opposed three measures).

This week: The House plans to consider at least another 19 measures and send a package to the Senate, according to the majority leader’s office.

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