President Donald Trump signed the Support for Patients and Communities Act into law last week, a necessary measure that allocates additional federal resources to help combat the deadly opioid epidemic.
The $6 billion effort seeks to tackle the opioid crisis from every angle, from prevention to treatment to controlling and prescribing opioids to effective record-keeping and telehealth.
The bipartisan SUPPORT Act was backed by lawmakers in both West Virginia and Virginia. And it was a rare example of a measure that both Democrats and Republicans could agree on.
“With the president’s signature, we are able to finally deliver on our promise for a robust, comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic that is plaguing West Virginia and so many other state across the country,” U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said. “For West Virginia, this law will more than double the state’s opioid funding because of a provision I secured to prioritize states like ours. This bill also addresses more than just addiction; it also focuses on families, prevention, education, and life after recovery.”
“I applaud President Trump for signing this opioid package that will help our country and West Virginia better fight and end the opioid epidemic,” U.S Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., added. “In our state, we know all too well the devastating impact the opioid epidemic has had on West Virginians, their families and our communities. We have the highest overdose rate per capita of any state in our nation.”
Virginia-side Democrats and Republicans also found common ground with the SUPPORT Act.
“For all who are fighting the opioid crisis, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act delivers help,” U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., said. “It includes tools to treat addiction, reduce the availability of illegal substances, develop non-addictive painkillers, and gather more information about this epidemic.”
“This comprehensive legislation takes significant steps to stem the opioid epidemic that has devastated communities across the Commonwealth,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., added. “By making necessary improvements to substance abuse treatment and recovery services, we can help save lives.”
“This comprehensive effort aiming to address prevention, treatment, and recovery is an important step toward solving the addiction crisis,” U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va., said.
But not just lawmakers are applauding the passage of the SUPPORT Act. Greg Puckett, a member of the Mercer County Commission who also serves as the executive director of Community Connections, was at the White House last week to witness Trump sign this measure into law.
Puckett said politicians, heads of businesses and non-profits, and professionals in the field are all joining together to address the opioid crisis.
The new federal law is necessary and long overdue. But the struggle to stem the opioid crisis doesn’t end with Trump’s signature. Local, state and federal governments working in conjunction with law enforcement, the private sector and non-profits must continue with a coordinated response to overcome this crisis. Inaction is no longer an option. If we don’t act decisively now, we risk losing an entire generation to the deadly scourge of drug abuse. And that is an outcome which is simply unacceptable.