Opioid Bill Signed into Law After Drug Overdose Deaths Hit Record High
Opioid Bill Signed into Law After Drug Overdose Deaths Hit Record High

Last week, the president signed into law a sweeping opioid bill to address the drug epidemic. The bill, known as the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.

The bill provides funding to federal agencies and states to aid access to addiction treatment. It also creates a grant program to help increase the quality of care provided at recovery centers and addiction specialists. Additionally, the legislation mitigates against overprescription, and supports law enforcement efforts to intercept drug shipments at the border.

The opioid crisis has grown in the past decade, reaching a devastating peak last year. Between January 2017 and January 2018, more than 72,000 people died from drug overdoses—a 6.6% increase from 2016. Drug overdoses now have a higher death toll than any other non-disease cause of death, including homicides and car accidents.

What’s Behind the Increase in Fatalities?

Experts say the increase in drug overdose deaths has been primarily caused by the rise in fatalities caused by synthetic opioids, such as Fentanyl. Last year, nearly 30,000 people died from synthetic opioid overdoses. That represents an increase of more than 9,000 from the previous year.

Fentanyl has been a particularly devastating contribution to the opioid crisis in recent years. The drug is extremely powerful—up to 50 times more potent than heroin—and is unfortunately fairly easy and cheap to make. When purchased on the street, it is often mixed with other drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. These combinations can overwhelm even very experienced drug users, leading to fatal overdoses.

The CDC data shows that, while deaths related to synthetic opioids rose significantly in 2017, deaths from prescription opioids, heroin and methadone actually decreased.

“These statistics on drug overdose deaths in the U.S. are staggering. We sincerely hope to see these numbers decrease as nationwide efforts to curb the opioid epidemic continue,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured by a drug and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, El Centro, and Yucca Valley, and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

*This post was originally published September 7, 2018 and has been updated with new information.

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