President Trump signing a 600 page bill to fight the opioid crisis into law. It will provide 8-billion dollars this year to battle the addiction epidemic. Many items in the national bill are cloned from ideas from West Virginia, the state hardest hit. There will be more national care for drug addicted babies
modeled after Lily’s Place in Huntington. There will be more quick response teams that treat overdoes, also modeled after that same city.
“This is a big milestone. It’s a conglomeration of a lot of great ideas, some of which are working in West Virginia now, like Lily’s Place or the Martinsburg initiative,” said U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia.
The bill provides more federal aid to state and local law enforcement.
“Because one of the things we’ve got to do is stem the flow of these drugs coming into the country, especially Fentanyl. And we know that Fentanyl is a killer. Just a trace of it that they are putting in cocaine and heroin and marijuana – it’s killing people,” Rep. Bob Latta, (R) Ohio.
There will also be a lot more money aimed at prevention and long-term treatment for addicts. That has been in short supply nationally and locally:
“We have a lot of programs for people who are drug addicted that last for 30-days or 60-days. That’s not adequate because the changes that occur in the brain normally take somewhere between 12 and 18 months,” said Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development .
Dr. Carson saw the problem in Charleston first hand. First Lady Melania Trump, the President and Vice President and several cabinet members have all come to West Virginia to discuss opioids. The White House says to expect more visits.
“Oh I think you said it exactly. It’s one of the places where we’ve seen a real impact, and we certainly want to be able to address this. This is obviously a country-wide problem. But certainly
we’ve seen it be really heavily hit in West Virginia, and we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary.
West Virginia continues to have the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation.
“Now that the opioid bill has become law, we’ll be keeping an eye on its progress and implementation. Particularly how it s impacting West Virginia and the surrounding Appalachian States,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.