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Legislation that would grant more than half a billion dollars in emergency funds to federal programs tackling opioid and heroin abuse has been introduced by a U.S. senator.
The bill, announced last week by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., would make supplemental appropriations totaling $600 million available to programs that address the “heroin and opioid abuse epidemic” at the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to a Nov. 23 statement from the senator's office.
According to the CDC, each day, 44 people in the United States die from overdose of prescription painkillers.
“The opioid crisis is spiraling out of control,” Sen. Shaheen said in the statement. “We are losing lives daily, and our first responders, health care providers and criminal justice system are overwhelmed. To stem the tide, we urgently need additional funding for prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, and this legislation would provide resources to those on the frontlines.”
In a separate letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Sen. Shaheen said “this bill will include critical funding … to provide additional tools and resources to states and municipalities to address this epidemic.”
She also asked Ms. Burwell to support her efforts “with any authority you have to address this public health emergency.”
A California doctor has been convicted of second-degree murder for providing “massive quantities” of opioid medications to patients who died after taking the narcotics, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.