The US House of Representatives recently approved a new bill that would provide law enforcement and health officials with the resources they need to combat prescription opioid abuse and addiction. Those resources would include increasing the availability of educational programs for prescription drug addiction and giving law enforcement and emergency medical responders needed access to naloxone, an anti-overdose medication. The law would also increase existing efforts to treat incarcerated individuals suffering from drug addiction issues.
The bipartisan legislation initially stalled when Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives tried to include a provision that would provide nearly $1 billion in funding for drug treatment services across the country. When Democrats dropped their insistence on the ambitious drug-treatment provision, Republicans in the House finally agreed to pass the measure. The bill passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 407 to 5.
At this time, it is unclear if Democrats and Republicans in the US Senate will be able to agree on a funding plan for addressing prescription opioid abuse. Members of the GOP have said that the House already provides $581 in funds for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and another $90 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to deal with painkiller addiction during the 2017 fiscal year.
Now that the bill has moved through the House, the U.S. Senate will have to decide whether to send the law to President Obama. The law could run into a major obstacle at that point, however, because Congress has not yet approved the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which specifically provides $200 million in funding for programs meant to cut down on prescription painkiller addiction and heroin abuse. If the US Congress does not appropriate funding for the act, Obama may not sign off on the new legislation to curb drug addiction.
Although there are worries about backers of the legislation that Obama could ultimately reject the law because it lacks the necessary funding, the bill still represents a major step forward in the fight against drug abuse.
For more information, view the Miami Herald article, “House Passes Opioid Package, Which Now Heads to Senate.”
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with illegal prescription drug possession, heroin possession or any other drug offense in New Jersey, the aggressive criminal defense lawyers at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC will help you fight the charges. Contact us anytime to schedule a free consultation about your case.