U.S. Senate approves opioid package

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Monday, the U.S. Senate is voted 99-1 on a sweeping, bipartisan plan to tackle the opioid epidemic.

The bill provides new funds for prevention and education efforts, plus cracking down on fentanyl and other illegal drug trafficking.

The crisis has hit Ohio hard, with more than 40,000 deaths in 2016 in the Buckeye State. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown and GOP Senate challenger - Republican Rep. Jim Renacci - say this will help their state.

“We’ve had more deaths in Ohio than any state in the country, about 11 people a day on the average and Congress is finally stepping up," said Brown.

“All in all, it’s a very good bill that is going to help, but again most of the help has to come back here in Ohio," said Renacci.

Brown and Renacci are both fighting for new tools to confront the crisis. Brown touts a bill included in this package for specialized care for newborns of addicted moms. He hopes that cutting-edge program in Dayton can be replicated nationally.

Renacci also pushed to get measures in this plan to go after over-prescribing prescription pain-killers. He also assembled a panel as a Congressman to generate ideas from those on the front lines of battling opioids.

The U.S. House and Senate still need to work out any differences between the two versions, but leaders say they expect that to be resolved by the end of the year.

Read the original version of this article at www.graydc.com.