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Health Highlights: Sept. 18, 2018

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

U.S. Senate Passes Opioids Bill

The Senate on Monday passed on a 99-1 vote legislation aimed at curbing the nation's ongoing opioid addiction crisis.

The comprehensive bipartisan package earmarks billions of dollars to prevent cross-border opioid trafficking, create comprehensive recovery centers, and fund research into helping children exposed to opioid abuse, the Associated Press reported.

Five different committees submitted more than 70 proposals to help craft the bill, called the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018. The bill authorizes $7.9 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies.

Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., authored the bill. Ahead of Monday's vote, he labeled the epidemic of opioid addiction "our most serious health crisis."

The bill includes the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act (STOP), which requires the U.S. Postal Service to do more to prevent illegal drugs such as fentanyl from entering the United States via the mail. The bill also mandates that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration design new packaging for opioids in limited quantities -- for example, a three- or seven-day supply in plastic blister packs.

Ten million dollars in grant money will also be given to qualified applicants to open addiction recovery centers, the AP said.

The House passed its own version of the bill in June, and the Senate and House are expected to iron out any differences between the two bills by Friday, so that a bill can be presented to President Donald Trump for signature by early October.

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Posted: September 2018


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