Battling Opioids on the Hill

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(WBRE/WYOU-TV)  Next week the Senate is expected to vote on a bipartisan package of more than 70 bills to designed to tackle the ongoing opioid epidemic. Senators Patrick Toomey/R-PA and Chris Murphy/D-CT both have provisions within the package. Washington Correspondent Morgan Wright reports Senator Toomey says the legislation will make a difference. Senator Murphy says while there are many good ideas in the bill, it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough to make the kind of impact America needs.  

  It’s all across the commonwealth. I have not yet found an area, a region, I’m not sure there’s a neighborhood that has not been affected by this” said Senator Patrick Toomey.  

Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey says he can’t overstate how big of a problem the opioid epidemic is… but his bipartisan legislation could help provide relief…

 “When somebody suffers from a non-fatal overdose – and that happens, those folks are now at a very high risk of a subsequent overdose.”.

Senator Toomey is suggesting an addition to pending legislation that would monitor people at risk of drug abuse and overdose.

  “Would require people in that situation to be part of the over utilization monitoring program, within Medicare and Medicaid to make sure that we’re watching these folks”.

Senator Murphy says the legislation is a good start, but more needs to be done … He wants the drug industry held accountable, and more help for addicts.

 “If you’re not opening up more detox centers, more medication assistance programs, you’re not really solving the problem”. added Senator Chris Murphy.

Murphy has legislation within the bigger package – the Recovery Coach Act. 

 “We’ve had recovery coaches in Connecticut – these are people who hook up with people who have had an overdos, and try to guide them through recovery – it’s been successful ” noted Senator Murphy.

The Senate should vote on the bill next week.

 Senator Toomey says the broader bill does a number of other things including authorizing a new range of state programs, that’s important because that makes them eligible for federal funding to carry out these programs.

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