legislation

Tackling The American Opioid Epidemic

opioidThe first quarter of 2016 has shown a lot of promise so far with regard to combating the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic in the United States. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle can basically all agree that proactive measures are needed to limit prescribing practices and expand access to substance use disorder treatment. On top of that, efforts are underway to make it easier for addicts and their family to acquire the life saving opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone. If the drug is administered in timely manner, the drug can counter the symptoms of an opioid overdose.

If you have been following the news, you may be aware the Northeast has been hit hard by the opioid crisis. In response, the Massachusetts House unanimously passed a comprehensive bill for addressing opioid addiction, MassLive reports. The legislation would impose a limit on a doctor prescribing opioids, as well as a requirement that a mental health professional conduct a substance abuse evaluation to opioid overdose victims within 24 hours before they are discharged.

“We are in the midst of a public health crisis that is draining vitality from our hometowns, extinguishing lives and stealing souls,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, in a statement. “The House has crafted legislation and budgets that complement each other and set a foundation for continual improvement.”

A number of states are considering similar legislation aimed at tackling the problem. On top of that, the Federal government is attempting to tow the line as well. Last week, the Senate unanimously passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which authorizes the U.S. Attorneys General to award grants for addressing the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. The following day, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced plans from the White House to spend nearly $100 million to expand addiction treatment services.

All the legislation in the works is a clear sign that lawmakers understand that we, as a nation, cannot arrest our way out of this epidemic. What’s needed is greater access to addiction treatment services, especially the way things are currently. In some parts of the country, addicts can wait as long as a month to receive a bed at a treatment center – especially in rural America.

If you are currently struggling with prescription opioid and/or heroin addiction, please contact Synergy Group Services. We can give you the tools necessary for living a life free from drugs and alcohol.

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