In the recent months, numerous attempts were made to obstruct and prevent Congress from passing a bill through which $500 million billion would be assigned to combat the growing opioid epidemic. Fortunately, those attempts did not succeed because President Barack Obama finally signed the legislation on December 12th. Turns out that the $500 amount will be funded in education, prevention and treatment programs.
Families across the United States are being devastated by the heroin epidemic. The funds that this new bill has allocated will prove to be crucial toward aiding the community in taking action against fatal drugs like heroin. Through the bill that the President signed, $500 will be provided to the Department of Health and Human Services’ anti-drug program grants. These programs address drug problems by taking a multifaceted approach. They augment drug abuse prevention and treatment, enhance prescription monitoring, and training in the best prescribing practices to health care practitioners.
For the most part, a majority from the White House and both parties supported the funding level. It makes sense considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that there was a fourfold rise in heroin-related deaths from 2002 to 2013. Two Members of Congress, namely Lois Frankel and Vern Buchanan, who have been particularly vocal about supporting the new bill are both representatives of Florida.
In Florida, the central point of the heroin epidemic is Manatee County, and Vern Buchanan happens to be the representative of the county. Based on Manatee County’s records of 2014, when compared to those of the other 66 counties in Florida, more people died per capita in Manatee County as a result of heroin overdoses. Like the rest of the nation, Manatee County is also experiencing a surge in drug overdoses. Just in 2016, a record-setting number of autopsies have been carried out by the county’s medical examiner’s office.
It should be obvious that there are plenty of frightening and terrifying statistics and stories associated the heroin epidemic and the deaths it has caused. It is about time that significant resources are allocated towards the war on the drug epidemic.
Congressman Vern Buchanan has been actively leading the way in tackling the opioid epidemic that has been plaguing Florida. Back in September, he funds were direly required to control and restrain the nation’s dangerous and lethal heroin crisis, it was he who kept urging the leaders of the House and Senate to do provide the needed funding. Back in May, the Congressman served as the chairman of a hearing that analyzed and scrutinized how children are being affected by addiction.
Earlier in December, the Congressman made an announcement to show his support for another bill. That bill is aimed to combat the next phase of the opioid crisis. The bill will strive to prevent opioid medications like carfentanil and fentanyl from getting illicitly imported into the United States from countries like China. Synthetic drugs like these are not just similar to heroin, they are actually fifty times more potent, which makes them that much dangerous as well. Hopefully, bills like these plays succeed in playing a part to curb the nationwide heroin and opioid epidemic.