The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate reached bipartisan alignment on the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act in the twelfth hour of September. Now roughly a month later, the White House has given its stamp of approval on the legislation which aims to combat the opioid addiction epidemic in America, NBC News reports. When covering this topic last month, we highlighted some of the legislation’s shortcomings, particularly funding shortfalls. Still, the sheer fact that lawmakers were able to put strong partisan differences aside and address opioid use is an enormous feat by any standard.
Of the 72,000 overdose deaths last year, opioids are thought to be responsible for more than 48,000 Americans deaths in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC. The need for action is in a word, dire! As previously mentioned, the bill is a package of various measure taking aim at several of the salient facets of the epidemic; including directing more money to federal agencies and states to expand access to addiction treatment, preventing overprescribing, and providing more instruction on intercepting fentanyl shipments to law enforcement.
The SUPPORT Act does away with a Medicaid provision that barred people with substance use disorders from accessing mental health facilities with more than 16 beds for treatment, according to the article. Public health experts are supportive of the bill concerning increasing access to treatment; however, Keith Humphrey, a Stanford professor assisting both House and Senate in writing the legislation warns that the SUPPORT Act does not go far enough to reverse course.
“It’s not the time to be leisurely, and saying that we’ll get there eventually is not sufficient as an answer,” Humphrey said [of decreasing overdose deaths]. “If it takes another year, that’s another 60 or 70,000 people in their graves. That’s not good enough.”
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
Hopefully, and despite what the act lacks, more lives will be saved, and more Americans will be able to access treatment. Regarding saving lives, many adults can play an essential role in preventing prescription drug abuse and overdose by taking part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, October 27, 2018, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Tomorrow’s event, spearheaded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA, opens prescription drug collection sites across the country. The agency is asking individuals who have unused or unwanted medication – especially people with leftover narcotics – to safely dispose of their drugs at sanctioned collection sites. To grasp the importance of this event, please consider that 80 percent of heroin users first misused prescription painkillers. Many of such people acquired drugs like OxyContin from friends and family members. Please watch the video below:
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If prescription opioid use is negatively impacting your life, or you feel unable to stop using on your own, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. We can assist you in overcoming the cycle of addiction and develop a treatment plan that can help you discover lasting recovery. We invite you to take the first step with HVRC!