Portman Cincinnati Enquirer Op-Ed: “Help Is On The Way to Combat the Opioid Crisis”

November 13, 2018 | Press Releases

In a new Cincinnati Enquirer op-ed, Senator Portman details the benefits of the new opioid legislation the president signed into law last month. The final law included a number of initiatives Portman has been working on for years, including his bipartisan STOP Act, which helps stop the influx of fentanyl that is shipped into Ohio through the Postal Service, as well as his bipartisan Improving CARE Act, which expands access to treatment for people struggling with addiction, his bipartisan CRIB Act, which helps newborns suffering from addiction recover in the best care setting and provide support for their families, and several key initiatives from his bipartisan CARA 2.0 Act

In the op-ed, Portman wrote: “Through the commitment I have seen at the local level and this new law’s renewed partnership from the federal level, I believe we can turn the corner and take back our communities from the grips of addiction. 

Excerpts of the op-ed can be found below and the full op-ed can be found at this link.   

Help Is On The Way to Combat the Opioid Crisis
By Senator Rob Portman

The Cincinnati Enquirer

November 12, 2018

The refrain I hear across Ohio about the opioid epidemic is clear: People are desperate for hope, and they want solutions.

We’ve made progress recently, and we have much more to do. But I’m proud that Congress took another important step to make the federal government a better partner through new legislation the president just signed into law.

The most urgent crisis we face in Ohio is the rise of fentanyl – a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin.

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Based on an 18-month investigation by a congressional subcommittee I chair, we know that fentanyl is mostly shipped into our communities from China through our U.S. Postal Service. Our legislation addressed that.

The legislation – the STOP Act – was included in the new opioid law the president signed last week and closes the loophole in our international mail screening that drug traffickers have exploited. It requires the Postal Service to receive electronic advance data on packages entering the U.S., something private carriers are already required to do.

This information allows law enforcement to identify suspicious packages, test them and seize fentanyl.

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Now that it is law, the STOP Act will act as a tourniquet, stemming the flow of fentanyl into Ohio and allowing prevention, treatment, and recovery programs to take hold.

The new opioid law also expands access to treatment. When someone is ready to get over their addiction, treatment centers have to be ready to accept them. I’ve talked with too many families who have lost loved ones from overdoses after they were turned away from a treatment center because there wasn’t enough space.

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The new opioid law also helps protect pregnant and postpartum moms affected by addiction as well as babies born dependent on drugs. These innocent babies have to be taken through the process of withdrawal as infants – and the long-term health effects are uncertain.

Earlier this year, I introduced CARA 2.0 to build on the successes of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), my bipartisan legislation that became law in 2016. A number of provisions from CARA 2.0 are in this new law, including $60 million for a plan of safe care for babies born dependent on drugs… 

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