Durbin shepherds bills targeting heroin, prescription-opioid abuse
America’s war on illegal drugs and legal-drug abuse is getting a new ally in the U.S. Senate, where U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently co-sponsored or introduced bills aimed at ensuring addicts get the help they need.
Durbin said more needs to be done to stop the flow of illegal drugs into America.
“In recent years, Illinois – like the rest of the country – has seen an alarming increase in drug-overdose deaths. These deaths affect the young and old, rich and poor— it is a problem that all communities face,” Durbin said.
Drug-overdose deaths are now the leading cause of preventable-injury death, resulting in nearly 44,000 deaths each year, with most involving either prescription opioids or heroin, Durbin said. In Illinois, there were 1,652 overdose deaths in 2014 – an increase of nearly 29 percent since 2010. In DuPage County, there were at least 86 overdose deaths in 2014, 42 associated with heroin.
Durbin co-sponsored the Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act. The bill not only would lift the cap on the number of patients physicians can treat using medication-assisted therapies, but also would enable nurse practitioners and physicians to treat patients with medication-assisted therapies.
Durbin also introduced the Overdose Prevention Act, which aims to decrease the rate of drug-overdose deaths by improving access to naloxone.
Both bills currently are under committee consideration.
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