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Introduction of Opioid Response Enhancement Act set to tackle opioid epidemic

As the onslaught of opioid epidemic continues in the country, a group of 15 American senators has introduced the Opioid Response Enhancement Act to help the states tackle the problem. The bill would boost a grant program under the aegis of the 21st Century Cures Act of 2017, ensuring that the states have access to continued and additional funding for the next five years.

With the continuous worsening of the ongoing opioid crisis, the federal grants are crucial for the prevention programs, the first responders and the treatment centers to procure the resources required for combatting this epidemic on a daily basis. While the State Targeted Response (STR) Grant has helped people on the front lines, the new Enhancement Grant would provide the critical resources to the states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic like West Virginia.

Given the recent deaths of over 700 locals in 2016, the provision of continuous and additional funding will prove a blessing for West Virginia. The funding will enable the availability of critical resources needed to bring down the high mortality rate of West Virginia. The Opioid Response Enhancement Act will assist states in continuing the fight against opioid epidemic with all strength.

Key benefits that bill brings to the table

The implementation of the Opioid Response Enhancement Act can prove to be a huge differentiator in the fight against opioids. It will bolster the STR Grant with an additional investment of $12 billion over the next five years. In addition, it will provide an extra $1.5 billion for the rest of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 under new resources made available in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Some of the key benefits of the act are as follows:

  • Providing $10 billion for the current STR Grant program under 21st Century Cures Act starting FY19 for the next five years.
  • Ensuring a new STR Enhancement Grant for $2 billion over five years for at least 10 qualifying states and tribal entities with high opioid-related mortality rates. This would enhance and expand opioid abuse efforts in these states under the STR program.
  • Ensuring technical assistance to states and tribes by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The SAMHSA would provide technical assistance through the Tribal Training and Technical Assistance Center, for application procedures, outreach and support to underserved communities, and data collection.
  • Offering some flexibility to the states and tribes using some of the funding to address other substance use issues that are akin to opioid abuse and have substantial public health threats.
  • Directing states to prioritize funding and ensuring direct assistance to local community-based organizations and counties. This would enable local leaders to have access to critical resources required to address unmet needs.

Curb the nexus between drug addiction and human trafficking

In another development, two U-S senators from Ohio—Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman—are joining the rest from other states to curb the use of drugs to control the victims of human trafficking. The act called “The Protecting Rights of Those Exploited by Coercive Trafficking” or PROTECT Act” will stop the exploitation of the trafficked victims by the perpetrators using drugs—either introducing them to it or using it as a bait to hold them captive.

“It’s a terrible mix of addiction and human trafficking and sale of drugs and sale of human beings. I am working on a bipartisan bill to deal with this terrible intersection of sex trafficking and opioid addiction,” said Senator Brown.

Addiction is a scourge, be it to opioids or any other substance. However, one can gain sobriety and lead an addiction-free life by availing the right treatment. If you have a loved one struggling with drug addiction, get in touch with the 24/7 Recovery Helpline for information on drug rehab treatment in your area. You can call our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online to know more about any drug treatment center for your loved one.

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