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The Tennessean: Congress reaches agreement on prescription for fighting the nation's opioid epidemic
Posted on September 26, 2018
Tennessean: Congress reaches agreement on prescription for fighting the nation's opioid epidemic
By: Michael Collins
September 26, 2018
WASHINGTON – Congress has reached a consensus on a prescription for battling the nation’s opioid epidemic, assuring that the package will land soon on President Donald Trump’s desk.
Negotiators for the House and Senate announced late Tuesday they had struck an agreement on a package of bills that would make it easier to stop illegal drugs at the border, speed up research for new nonaddictive prescription painkillers and make treatment more readily available for those who are addicted.
The House could take up the bill as early as this week. It was not immediately clear when the Senate would vote on the legislation.
"There is bipartisan urgency for both of our chambers to pass this consensus legislation so the president can sign it as soon as possible,” said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate committee that oversees health issues.
Other measures contained in the package boost state prescription drug monitoring programs to prevent “doctor shopping,” provide for comprehensive opioid recovery centers, authorize Medicaid to cover 30 days of substance abuse treatment and allow for special safety packaging to limit opioid doses to a three- to seven-day supply.
The bill resulted from months of congressional hearings that included testimony from medical experts, law-enforcement officials and Americans whose families have been touched by the opioid epidemic.
The House and Senate each passed bipartisan legislation. The final package is a compromise that sprung from those two bills.