U.S. Senate set to vote this week on massive bill aimed at stemming the opioid crisis.


The silver bullet to fighting the opioid crisis is finding a new, non-addictive medication to treat pain, according to Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander R-TN. 

Alexander told our D.C. bureau,  “Within a decade, maybe even five years we should have new treatments.”  

Alexander wants to jumpstart those efforts. He’s championing a provision in a sweeping opioid bill to advance cutting-edge research at the National Institutes of Health.

“There’s a bipartisan sense of urgency here,” he said. 

The Opioid Response Act of 2018 also aims to reduce over-prescribing. It allows the F.D.A. to require drug manufacturers to sell opioids in packets with as few as three pills.

The CDC says opioid overdoses killed an estimated 72-thousand Americans last year. Illegal Fentanyl imported from overseas is becoming an increasingly deadly part of the problem.

It’s another issue the Senate hopes to tackle with this bill. 

“It makes it easier for the United States Postal Service to stop fentanyl, especially fentanyl being mailed in here from China.”  

The bill is expected to pass the Senate this week. Alexander says it will then be merged with an opioid bill already passed by the house.

House members like Mike McCaul from Texas are also eager to take action. 

“I think its just a matter of time before Texas will be impacted in a very destructive way,” said McCaul, R-TX.  

Lawmakers from both sides of the capitol are hoping to have legislation on the President’s desk before the November elections. 

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