Opioid Crisis At Forefront As Midterms Approach

By Beth Leipholtz 10/01/18

Politicians are eager to offer their take on the crisis, in hopes of connecting with constituents who have been affected by it.

people inside voting booths

As November fast approaches, those on Capitol Hill know that the opioid crisis is an issue voters are taking into consideration.

“We see more and more deaths being attributed to opiates and illicit drugs than ever before. It’s of epidemic proportion and we’re going to lose a whole generation,” said Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia during an interview.

With a vote of 99 to 1 on Monday (Sept. 17), the Senate passed a package of 70 bills aimed at opioid prevention and expanding treatment. 

According to KATV, those in support of the legislation say it is just the beginning. The bill package would mean increased the screening of packages sent via the U.S. Postal Service, which U.S. Representative Erik Paulsen has been supportive of, according to a blog post by Advanced Medical Integration, a consulting firm.  

“While private carriers have to submit electronic data for any of their packages that come into the United States, the postal service has been exempt,” Paulsen stated. “We have a loophole that is being exploited by smugglers.”

The bill package would also mean shorter opioid prescriptions and increased funding for treatment. 

“Now we’re able to get money coming to the most addicted areas and that’s gonna be the biggest help to West Virginia,” Manchin stated. 

Manchin is in a tight race for his Senate seat. His opponent, Attorney General Patrick Morrissey, states that Manchin did nothing to help the opioid crisis when he served as governor of West Virginia.

“Quite frankly Joe Manchin was governor and I inherited the fact that he was asleep at the switch all while this crisis was raging,” Morrissey said, according to KATV.

However, Morrissey himself has had to contend with some backlash due to his ties to pharmaceutical companies, which he has lobbied for in the past. “Last year I sued the DEA because I thought that their whole drug quota system was fundamentally flawed and it was spitting out in excess hundreds of millions of pills that were not warranted,” Morrissey stated.

Midterms and the passing of the bill package could bring some clarity and direction, according to AMI.

“We have to take some responsibility as a public for we should have recognized it as soon as it reared its ugly head and squashed it then,” the AMI blog post notes. “Now it is out of control. There is hope that one of these programs before Congress will take hold and slowly but surely begin to usher in the change we so desperately need.”

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.