Opioid overdoses to rise in 2020 amid coronavirus pandemic
Sense. John Osoff and Chuck Grassley are introducing a bill on Wednesday codifying a pilot program to fight the opioid crisis in rural areas, specifically dedicated to fighting the opioid crisis in rural communities.
The program provides grants to rural local governments and nonprofits to help fight opioid addiction in their areas. Earlier this year, Reps Connor Lamb, D-Pa., and Randy Fenstra, R-Iowa introduced a similar bill in the House.
“Like many Georgians, I have lost friends to the opioid epidemic. My bipartisan bill with Senator Grassley will fund efforts to prevent and treat addictions and save lives in rural communities,” says Osoff, D-Ga. he said.
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“We have made some progress in fighting the opioid crisis, but with overdose deaths, Congress needs to act. Our bill helps communities in Iowa and across the country prevent and handle any surge in opioid overdoses. Will do,” Grassley, R-Iowa, added.
The opioid crisis was easing, at least to some extent, in many regions before the coronavirus pandemic. But the virus-related lockdown appears to have severely thwarted the country’s effort to fight the drug addicts. Overdose hit a record 93,000 in 2020, a 29% increase compared to 2019.
The bill represents a rare bipartisan collaboration in Congress. But the opioid crisis has hit rural areas in many states — from Pennsylvania to Maryland to Iowa to Georgia — much harder.