Senators launch bipartisan push to combat opioid epidemic

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. A judge formally approved a plan Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 to turn OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma into a new company no longer owned by members of the Sackler family and with its profits going to fight the opioid epidemic. A U.S. bankruptcy court judge signed the plan Friday, more than two weeks after giving it preliminary approval. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

FILE – This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

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UPDATED 11:15 AM PT – Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A pair of senators are proposing legislation to combat the opioid epidemic. Republican Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Democrat Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) introduced the bill Wednesday, which aims to codify a pilot program to help rural communities fight off the epidemic.

A similar bill has already been introduced on a bipartisan basis in the House. This comes as the opiate crisis has been exacerbated by COVID-19 lockdowns.

I’ve lost friends to opioids, like millions who have lost loved ones to addictive drugs pushed by corrupt drug companies. Now I’m teaming up with Sen. Chuck Grassley to address opioid addiction and overdoses in rural communities nationwide.”

— Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.)

In a recent roundtable on the crisis, Republican Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said federal funding of local prisons forces addicts to go into withdrawal without treatment.

“In our local prisons, people who are facing addictions are left to dry out, if you will, to go into withdrawal on their own in the facility,” he explained. “And the facilities don’t have access to funding to be able to get treatment for these individuals.”

Turner is proposing legislation to get the facilities funded while suggesting it will drastically increase success rates at ending addiction.

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