House passes massive package aimed at combating the opioid epidemic

Pain pills.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The House overwhelmingly passed a massive package meant to address the opioid crisis by a vote of 396-14 on Friday. "This is costing us lives. This is why we're so focused on ending this opioid epidemic," said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in comments last week. "This is all hands on deck."

There are 58 individual bills in the package, including Jessie's Law, which will require medical records to list addiction histories so doctors can avoid prescribing opioids to such patients, NBC News reports. Privacy advocates have expressed concern that opening up medical histories to doctors will prompt addicts to avoid seeking professional medical help, but some still say the legislation does not go far enough: "I do question if this bill will have a meaningful impact on the opioid crisis," said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).

Experts say the opioid epidemic could claim 1 million lives by 2020, with the CDC reporting an average of 46 deaths due to prescription drugs every day in 2016.

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