“A growing rift among Senate Republicans over federal spending on Medicaid and the opioid epidemic is imperiling legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act that Senate leaders are trying to put to a vote by the end of next week.
President Trump had urged Republican senators to write a more generous bill than a House version that he first heralded and then called “mean,” but Republican leaders on Tuesday appeared to be drafting legislation that would do even more to slow the growth of Medicaid toward the end of the coming decade.
And conservative senators, led by Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, are determined to hold the line on federal spending, pitting two Senate factions against each other.”
“In the midst of a nationwide overdose epidemic, the draft Senate bill offered only $2 billion for recovery treatment programs for one year, less even than the $45 billion over 10 years offered in the health care bill that passed in the House in early May, which had already faced criticism as too paltry.
‘It is a death sentence for millions of Americans,’ Gary Mendell of Shatterproof, a nonprofit that advocates for addiction treatment, told BuzzFeed News. ‘It is mind-boggling to me that our lawmakers would take treatment away at a time when people need it most.’”
“The issue of illegal narcotics flowing from Latin America into the US through Central America and Mexico has come to the fore in recent months, as policymakers in Washington turn their attention to the US border and the movement across it.
Along with that renewed focus, a number of misconceptions and inaccuracies about what drugs move through Mexico and Central America, who is moving them, and what is being done to stop them have gained traction as well.”
“Carrie Fisher's daughter has spoken out against the stigma of drug addiction after toxicology results revealed that Fisher had cocaine and heroin in her system at the time of her death last year.
The report from the Los Angeles County coroner's office released on Monday found that Fisher had multiple substances in her system, including cocaine, methadone, alcohol, opiates and traces of MDMA, most commonly known as ecstasy.”
“There's no single actor to blame for the tragedy; the crisis even had seemingly benevolent origins—at the outset, some members of the medical community, inspired by the hospice movement, simply wanted to better treat patients' pain. There a number of parties that at least share in responsibility for what has happened since, from the pharmaceutical companies that pushed the highly addictive pills, to the physicians who overprescribed them, to the pharmacies that dispensed too many.”
“In Missouri in 2015, thousands of people were hospitalized from non-heroin opioid overdoses and about 500 people died, according to the AP.
Yet it’s the only state in the country with no prescription drug monitoring system, a database that experts have said is a crucial step to curbing addiction and overdoses.
Proposals have languished in the legislature for half a dozen sessions.”
“Hospitalizations surged 75 percent for women between 2005 and 2014, compared to 55 percent for men the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported. That means the rate of opioid-related hospital stays, which used to be rarer for women, is now about equal among the sexes nationwide — about 225 per 100,000 people.
That’s “absolutely remarkable,” Anne Elixhauser, senior research scientist at AHRQ, told TODAY.”