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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

 1:21 PM 

Column: Sensenbrenner takes on opioid epidemic

This is an excerpt from Nicole Duran's DC Wrap column. Sign up for the full column by emailing staff@wispolitics.com.

On Thursday the House is set to take up a bill to help combat opioid abuse authored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R Menomonee Falls.

The bill would allow the Justice Department to award grants to state, local and municipal governments by amending the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.

Addressing the nation's heroin and opioid prescription abuse epidemic is one issue Republicans and Democrats actually agree on.

President Obama requested $1.1 billion for opioid abuse treatment in proposed 2017 budget. He also has convened summits, established a task force, visited some of the hardest-hit communities and highlighted the issue in speeches. The Obama Administration has proposed rules to expand access to care and treatment, among other things.

According to government statistics, approximately 72 Americans overdose daily on prescription pain medication or heroin.

"I'm optimistic about the future of this legislation and the positive impact it will have throughout this nation," Sensenbrenner stated after winning committee approval April 27.

The Obama administration is generally supportive of Sensenbrenner's bill and similar legislation but is concerned about funding.

"These trends will not change by simply authorizing new grant programs, studies and reports," read a statement of administration policy issued by the Office of Management and Budget. "Congressional action is needed to fund the tools communities need to confront this epidemic and accelerate important policies like training health care providers on appropriate opioid prescribing, an essential component of this effort."

Read the full column here, with news on a VA bill named after a Tomah vet and the latest in a Ryan-Obama administration fight on Puerto Rico


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