A new bill, made up several proposals over the last year, will push through efforts to approach the issue of opioid addiction as a public health concern, rather than one of the criminal justice system.
The bill supports increased research, planning and treatment of opioid addiction and encourages police and health workers to approach the issue from a public health perspective. If approved, the bill will expand services to addicts, offering wider access to treatment and will allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe necessary medications; state and community organizations will be eligible for grants to expand services, treatment and recovery programs. Furthermore, the bill will designate an annual budget of $100 million to be allocated by the Department of Justice for researching alternatives to jail for addicts.
President Obama requested $1.1 billion to be allocated for treatment and recovery programs, but the House and Senate are unlikely to fulfill, as the most recent version of the bill did not agree on the budget.
Read full story at: NPR