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American crackdown on opioids

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The United States Senate has overwhelmingly approved a string of bills aimed at fighting head-on America’s opioid epidemic.

The far-reaching legislative package had bipartisan support and was passed 99-1.

Republican Senator Mike Lee from Utah was the only one to vote against it.

The House of Representatives passed similar legislation in June, with both houses of Congress now taking direct aim at the opioid crisis.

The Senate’s Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 directs funding to federal agencies to establish or expand programs dealing with prevention, treatment and recovery.

The 70 bills in the package include the Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act ‘STOP’ Act, which was endorsed by President Donald Trump.  It sets up a framework to stop shipments of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, from entering the States.

Other bills include requiring the Food and Drug Administration to give prescription opioid pills in smaller quantities, and funding to the National Institutes of Health to develop of non-addictive painkillers.

Opioid overdose deaths in America in 2017 is estimated at 72,000.  

CHRIS JOHNSON

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