The fight against drug addiction in West Virginia and surrounding states took on a new chapter after both Houses of Congress passed the “Opioid Crisis Response Act.”
Among other things the bill offers $8 billion for items such as state drug treatment programs; Quick Response Teams to target overdoses, modeled after those in Huntington; and the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act, known as STOP.
“The STOP Act hat was passed here is something that is incredibly important. A lot of people don’t realize it, that synthetic opiates – things like fentanyl – that are killing so many West Virginians come across our border through our postal service, through FexEx, through UPS,” said Mike Stuart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The bill is getting wide praise for including law enforcement, plus prevention, and treatment.
“Well, I don’t think we don’t get people out of the destruction of the opioid crisis, opioid addiction if we don’t find recovery options for them. We have to invest in our police force and then law enforcement, but we also have to invest in recovery on the other end of it,” said Delegate Andrew Robinson, (D-Kanawha).
But, as the nation prepares a greater targeting on opioids, other drug use is rising.
“Methamphetamine is crushing us right now. Increased use of black market marijuana, and there’s all sorts of preservatives, all sorts of pesticides, all sorts of things in that marijuana. So, we’ve got all sorts of challenges we’re facing right now,” Stuart said.
The U.S. Senate passed the bill on a 99 to 1 vote.
“I think West Virginia’s been hit so hard by the opioid crisis. It’s nice to see our federal delegation focusing on the issue and putting West Virginians first and giving them hope to move forward,” Robinson continued.
As always with bills in the House and Senate, they have to work out their minor differences. President Trump said when they do, he’ll sign the opioid bill into law.
The bill also adds more money for the Caring Recovery for Infants and Babies Act, also known s the “Crib Act”.