Nearly a year ago, President Trump signed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act into law. This law, which helps combat the opioid crisis by providing communities with the necessary resources to treat and prevent opioid abuse, is a reminder what Congress working together in a true bipartisan fashion can accomplish for all Americans. With the ink on the bill dry, we celebrate the passage of the largest legislative effort to combat a single drug crisis in history.
Thanks to those bipartisan efforts, the final version of the SUPPORT Act passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 393 to 14 on September 28, 2018. The bill was met with similar overwhelming support in the Senate, passing by a vote of 98 to 1 on October 3, 2018. Three weeks later, the president signed the bill into law. While preliminary data in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report demonstrates a decline in drug overdoses Congress will not let up in its efforts to end this epidemic. Even though this data is promising, we will not become complacent.
The SUPPORT Act took a multifaceted approach to addressing the opioid crisis by advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, establishing preventative measures, protecting communities, and fighting back against the effects of dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl. By increasing access to opioid treatment centers and providing incentives for enhanced care and treatment innovation, the SUPPORT Act helps those addicted receive the vital treatment they need on their road to recovery. In addition to treating opioid abuse, the SUPPORT Act also promotes a proactive approach to curbing this crisis by encouraging development of non-addictive alternatives for pain management.
Recognizing that a large part of the problem is removing synthetic drugs from our communities, the SUPPORT Act provides law enforcement with the resources they need to get these dangerous drugs off our streets. However, even with access to federal resources, the potency of synthetic drugs like fentanyl makes seizing and disposing of these drugs incredibly dangerous. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and is often used in counterfeit pills. By cracking down on foreign shipments, preventing this extremely deadly drug from crossing our border will help reduce the risk of exposure.
Congress remains committed to providing the necessary resources to communities affected by this crisis and will continue to pursue alternative and preventative measures. While the SUPPORT Act is a good start, we must continue to examine measures that can reduce the number of opioids and drug overdoses in our communities. This legislation gives those on the front lines the tools they need to combat opioid addiction, and we will continue to look for ways to provide much-needed relief and assistance to the areas hit the hardest.
For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington I encourage you to follow my Facebook page athttps://www.facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report,” by visiting https://longforms.house.gov/newsletter-and-email-updates-form