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A bill from Sens. Jon Ossoff and Chuck Grassley aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic in rural areas passed the Senate Thursday night via unanimous consent, as overdose deaths hit a record high in the United States.
The bill would create a pilot program specifically dedicated to fighting opioid in rural communities, which are particularly hard hit by the crisis.
Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., speaks to the crowd during an outdoor drive-in rally on Dec. 5, 2020, in Conyers, Georgia. The Senate passed an Ossoff-backed bill to fight the opioid crisis in rural areas Wednesday. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
“With today’s passage of my bipartisan bill to reduce opioid addiction, overdoses, and deaths, the Senate proved Democrats and Republicans can still work together to get things done,” Ossoff, D-Ga., said after the bill passed.
“Thanks @ChuckGrassley for the teamwork,” he said in a tweet.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks during testimony from Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 14, 2020 in Washington. The Senate passed a Grassley-supported bill to fight the opioid crisis in rural areas Wednesday. (Photo by SUSAN WALSH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
According to the CDC, the U.S. saw more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths between April 2020 and April 2021, 75,673 of which were from opioids. That is a 35% increase in opioid overdose deaths from the previous 12-month period.
Reps. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., and Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, support the companion bill in the House. It is unclear when that lower chamber will take up the bill.