Law Enforcement Agencies To Receive $12M In Federal Grants To Tackle Opioid Epidemic, Drug Trafficking
In other news on the national drug crisis: Republican lawmakers propose a bill to limit opioid prescriptions for first-time users; and farmers are hit hard by the epidemic.
Justice Department Announces New Steps To Combat Opioid Epidemic
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Wednesday that the Justice Department will award $12 million in grants to help law enforcement agencies combat the opioid crisis and create a new office in the Appalachian region to crack down on illicit drug trafficking. Sessions is also ordering all U.S. attorneys' offices to designate an opioid coordinator to work with prosecutors and other federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officials to coordinate opioid prosecutions. (Hellman, 11/29)
GOP Bill Would Limit Opioid Prescriptions For First-Time Users
Two Republican lawmakers are proposing to restrict the prescriptions of opioids for first-time users, calling it a necessary step to combat abuse. A new bill introduced Wednesday by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) would limit a patient's first opioid prescription for acute pain to seven days, except in cases of traumatic injury, chronic conditions, cancer care, end-of-life care, palliative care, or based on a physician’s recommendation. (Hellmann, 11/29)
Opioid Crisis Affects Farmers Harder Than Their Rural Neighbors
The U.S. opioid crisis that’s sweeping through America’s heartland has hit farmers harder than the wider rural population. Almost three-quarters of U.S. farmers and farm workers say they have been directly affected by opioid dependence, either from taking an illegal dose or dealing with a habit themselves, or by knowing someone who has used. That compares with about 45 percent for the rural population as a whole, according to a poll commissioned by the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union, the two biggest U.S. farmer groups. (Bjerga, 11/30)