Obama Signs Opioid Law, But Will Congress Fully Fund It?

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In near-apocalyptic terms, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tx.) described the rising tide of opioid abuse, saying it is “destroying families, increasing crime, making our communities less safe, hurting our economy, and robbing millions of Americans of their future.” On Friday, the Texas Tribune reports, President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.  The 85-page law addresses everything from youth sports injuries to overdose prevention in a bipartisan effort to curtail an epidemic that contributed to a record 50,000 overdose deaths nationwide in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The sense of crisis that propelled the bill was not strong enough to guarantee that Congress will put money where its mouth is. Obama said he was disappointed that the law didn’t include the $920 million Democrats had hoped to allocate. “This legislation includes some modest steps to address the opioid epidemic. Given the scope of this crisis, some action is better than none,” said Obama, who called on Congress to “finish the job” when it returns from summer recess. Cornyn and other legislators insist they plan to fund the bill when it comes time to appropriate money in September. Until then, the addiction treatment community in Texas and elsewhere must wait to see if the law will bring a flood of cash to the state’s underfunded addiction treatment programs.

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