There have been numerous articles written about the fact that the United States is currently in the midst of an opiate epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control calls the prescription opioid problem the worst of its kind in U.S. history. Dr. Tom Frieden who is the director of the CDC is quoted as saying, “We had a fourfold increase from deaths from opiates in a decade.”
Conceivably as a response to this health crisis, on Wednesday July 13, 2016 the Senate approved a bill to address the problem and sent to the President’s desk the most extensive legislation in years. The measure, which was passed overwhelmingly, improves prevention, treatment, and recovery endeavors. The hope is that the government is finally seeing addiction as a disease.
There is concern however, that there will not be adequate funding as Congress has yet to send a spending bill to the President. The worry is that the bill is an empty promise if the funding is not approved. Nevertheless, Marvin Ventrell, the executive director of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, was quoted as saying the measure was an “extraordinary” step forward for a nation that largely does not address addiction as a health problem. At any rate, the passing of the bill is clearly a step in the right direction.