This Week's News in Substance Use: 7/21/17

Health Care Overhaul Collapses as Two Republican Senators Defect, The New York Times

“Two more Republican senators declared on Monday night that they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, killing, for now, a seven-year-old promise to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. The announcement by the senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, left their leaders at least two votes short of the number needed to begin debate on their bill to dismantle the health law. Two other Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine, had already said they would not support a procedural step to begin debate.”

What’s Next? Senate GOP Scrambles After Health Care Flop, The Washington Post

“Senate Republicans are scrambling to pick up the pieces after their attempt to repeal and replace the Obama-era health care law collapsed a second time. After working for months on a new health package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Tuesday that the Senate would vote to move ahead on a straight-up repeal early next week, at the request of President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other Republicans. But even that effort is failing. At least three GOP senators came out against that plan, which would deny McConnell the votes needed to even debate a bill.”

Opioid Treatment Funds in Senate Bill Would Fall Far Short of Needs, NPR

“At a lunch on Wednesday, President Trump tried to persuade some reluctant senators to endorse repealing the Affordable Care Act. During the meeting, he mentioned a provision in the Senate Republican proposal that allocates funding for opioid treatment, saying, "We're committing $45 billion to help combat the opioid epidemic, and some states in particular like that. But addiction treatment specialists warn that sum of money is far from enough to address a crisis that has escalated across the United States in recent years, killing tens of thousands of people.”

Despite Trump Promises, White House Falling Short in Opioid Fight, CBS News

“Repeal of Obamacare is President Trump's top domestic priority, and the Senate bill has the blessing of the White House. But Mr. Trump has also pledged to devote money to fight the opioid crisis -- a promise that is in tension with his support for a piece of legislation that would slash benefits in the midst of a public health epidemic.”

Missouri Becomes Last State to Create Drug-Monitoring Plan, The New York Times

“Missouri became the final state to create a prescription drug-monitoring program Monday when Republican Gov. Eric Greitens signed an executive order aimed at combatting a scourge that killed more than 900 residents last year. The announcement surprised lawmakers, many of whom were unaware such a program was under consideration. Almost immediately, Democrats questioned whether the order goes far enough while some Republicans expressed concerns about privacy.”

There’s A Highly Successful Treatment for Opioid Addiction. But Stigma Is Holding It Back, Vox

“Behind the arguments about medication-assisted treatment is a simple reality of how Americans view addiction: Many still don’t see it, as public health officials and experts do, as a disease. With other diseases, there is no question that medication can be a legitimate answer. That medication is not viewed as a proper answer by many to addiction shows that people believe addiction is unique in some way — particularly, they view addiction as at least partly a moral failing instead of just a disease.”

The Empathy Gap: Race and Opioids, The Huffington Post

“The unavoidable racial dynamic of the opioid epidemic has helped to frame substance use as a public health issue. Billions of dollars have begun to flow towards harm-reduction efforts instead of incarceration. This is a much needed step for the United States. Yet, policy initiatives, even with good intentions, that fail to specifically account for the impact on marginalized communities, have consistently led to disproportionate harm to the most vulnerable. We must remain vigilant in identifying ways that treatment programs, diversion initiatives, and allocation of funding can best help minority communities impacted by opioids and other drugs.”

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