Senate passes final opioids bill: 5 things to know

Harrison Cook - Print  | 

The Senate passed a final version of the opioids bill in a 98 to 1 vote Oct. 4, according to The Seattle Times.

Here are five things to know:

1. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, opposed the legislation, while Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, chose not to vote.

2. The bill unites dozens of smaller proposals, expanding and reauthorizing programs and polices across nearly every federal agency. The legislation aims to address different aspects of the opioid epidemic, which includes preventative efforts and treatment and recovery options.

3. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who called attention to the opioid epidemic four years ago, wrote a portion of the bill that requires the U.S. Postal Service to screen packages for fentanyl shipped and received from overseas. Synthetic opioids are difficult to detect but are increasingly found in pills and heroin and increase chances of overdose deaths.

4. Public health advocates praise the bill's increased attention to treatment options. If signed into law, the legislation would create a grant program for comprehensive recovery centers, including housing, job training and mental and physical healthcare.

5. The bill also removes the rule prohibiting Medicaid from covering substance use disorder treatment in mental health facilities with more than 16 beds. The bill would allow for 30 days of residential treatment coverage.

More articles on opioids: 

3 ways clinicians can prevent opioid dependency among chronic pain patients

Viewpoint: Pain is a symptom, not a disease

Justice Department allocates $319M+ to fight opioid epidemic

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