United States Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) is making his mark in the legislature with his bill to combat the opioid epidemic.
The bipartisan legislation, headed to President Biden’s desk to be signed, will seek to prevent and treat crippling addiction.
Co-sponsored with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act passed the Senate chamber last year and was seconded in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Senator Ossoff released a statement on Tuesday, applauding the chamber for putting their political differences aside to pass the ROAPA.
According to Ossoff’s Senate website:
“The bipartisan bill will identify current gaps in prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those who interact with the criminal justice system in rural areas and establish new efforts to address the opioid crisis in that community.”
“Like so many Georgians, I’ve lost friends to the opioid epidemic,” Ossoff said. “My bipartisan bill with Senator Grassley will fund efforts to prevent and treat addiction and save lives.
His 89-year-old colleague seconded the young Senator’s sentiment.
“Today’s passage of the Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act is a critical step forward in our ongoing effort to curb the opioid crisis,” Grassley said.
Since the 1990’s the country has experienced an increase in opioid usage – with a resurgence in 2010. Heroin addiction spiked, leading to overdoses and shining a light on the highly addictive substance.
CEO of the National Rural Health Association, Alan Morgan, praised the Senators’ bill. Saying the NRHA is “proud to support” the legislation, the Senator’s team wrote in the release.
As the opioid epidemic continues to worsen, it is critical that the federal government continues to invest in successful programs that help save lives, particularly in rural areas.
The Addiction Center reported that over 40,000 deaths a year occur from opioid overdoses – both legal and illegal. That’s an average of 115 a day, making it the leading cause of accidental death in the country.
Moving into its third year, the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the epidemic, hitting rural and tribal communities particularly hard.
With deadly doses of the drug Fentanyl hitting American streets, the issue is more urgent than ever.
Ossoff’s legislation will see an increase in federal funding used to provide the most vulnerable communities affected with assistance.
First responders and law enforcement bear the brunt of dealing with those affected, but many lack the resources needed to properly intervene.
The ROAPA will help alleviate some of those gaps.
“From housing to transportation and employment training, there is a significant gap in recovery support services in rural communities,” said the CEO of Faces & Voices of Recovery, Patty McCarthy.
We are happy to support the permanent creation of this program which provides communities with funding to adopt public health-based approaches to reduce overdoses. – Partnership to End Addiction
The Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act is a huge win for Sen. Ossoff, the Democratic Party, and the American people.
Those suffering from the debilitating addiction, and the ones left behind to pick up the pieces after a loved one’s overdose.
Entire communities have been devastated, and working on the bipartisan bill is a testament to Ossoff’s commitment to seeing a new path forward in how opioid addicts are treated and working to reduce the addiction to prison pipeline could impact the rest of their lives.
The first Jewish U.S. Senator elected to represent the State of Georgia has proved that it’s possible to reach across the aisle – putting the American people before party or politics.
“I am bringing Republicans and Democrats together to address the opioid crisis,” Ossoff said.
Read Senator Ossoff’s press release here.
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