President Trump expected to sign opioids law at White House event

Posted at 2:04 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 14:34:10-04

President Donald Trump is expected to sign sweeping opioids legislation into law at the White House Wednesday afternoon during an event marking “a year of action” by the administration to combat the opioid epidemic, a White House official and Republican aide told CNN.

The wide-reaching legislation “contains more than 70 provisions to expand treatment and recovery, improve prevention, protect our communities, and stop the flow of illicit drugs at our borders,” Zach Hunter, communications director for the House Energy and Commerce Committee said in a statement.

It also includes provisions aimed at promoting research to find new drugs for pain management that will not be addictive. It also expands access to treatment for substance use disorders for Medicaid patients.

The legislation was approved by a vote of 98-1 in the Senate earlier in October and approved by the House with a vote of 393-8.

A year ago, the Trump administration declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, an action that set priorities in tackling the epidemic and has directed funds from the US Department of Health and Human Services to carry out that mission. Congress has allotted more than $8 billion this year for the opioid crisis. But some experts say that isn’t nearly enough and that tens of billions of dollars is needed to back any such effort to combat the crisis.

More than 72,000 Americans died of drug-overdose deaths in 2017 — up nearly 7% from 2016, according to government data. Opioids contributed to more than 49,000 of those deaths.

New preliminary data published Tuesday from the National Center for Health Statistics showed overdose deaths nationwide, while still exceedingly high, declined in the months leading up to March 2018, the most recent month for which data was reported.

In August, Trump also urged his Attorney General Jeff Sessions to sue certain pharmaceutical companies that have contributed to the opioid crisis in the United States.

The first lady has included the opioid epidemic as one part of her three-pron