Feds take small step in opioid abuse battle

We hope our elected representatives in Washington, D.C., can stop bickering and squabbling long enough to take a close look at a bill that was introduced in the House of Representatives recently that we believe would be a step in the right direction, in the battle against opioid abuse, albeit a modest one.

Introduced by U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell and Fred Upton (Dingell is a Democrat while Upton is Republican) the measure is bi-partisan. So far so good.

Specifically, it would give the National Institutes of Health additional flexibility to work with companies on exploring methods and means to cure, prevent and treat a variety of disorders and other public health threats such as opioid abuse.

Developing non-addictive ways to address chronic pain is a key goal in the opioid war. The Detroit News, in a recent report on the matter, said about 2 million U.S. citizens are addicted to some form of opioid and about 25 million suffer chronic pain.

Developing innovative ways to treat the addiction itself is another important facet of the bill. A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate about one week earlier.

“Opioid abuse and addiction doesn’t cherry-pick Republicans or Democrats. It touches us all. It’s going to take a full-team effort, and working across party lines, to finally solve this,” Upton said in a statement included in the News coverage.

Upton has a point. And with bi-partisanship at a premium in Washington and elsewhere, we sincerely hope these bills get fair and prompt hearings. Will they solve all of the problems associated with opioid abuse? Of course not. But it’s a small step in the right direction.