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Maine's Two U.S. Senators Applaud Opioid Bill's Approval

Mal Leary
Maine Public/file
Maine's two U.S. senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, attend a news event in Brunswick in 2014.

Maine's two U.S. senators are hailing the Senate's overwhelming approval Monday of a bill aimed at resolving the nation's opioid crisis.The Opioid Crisis Response Act aims to reduce drug trafficking and encourage recovery among users.  Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, authored two provisions in the bill. One allows hospice staff to dispose of unused prescriptions and the other designates funding for peer-to-peer recovery networks.

“It is imperative that we work together to combat the opioid crisis, which killed 418 people in Maine last year and led to nearly 1,000 babies being born addicted to opioids and other drugs in our state alone,” Collins says in a statement issued Monday.

Sen. Angus King, an independent, spoke on the Senate floor in favor of funding medically assisted treatment. He has backed several other provisions in the bill.

“This legislation isn’t perfect – but it’s an important step in the right direction on an issue that desperately needs progress,” King says in a statement issued Monday. “The severity of the opioid crisis isn’t a partisan issue; it’s about protecting our families, friends, neighbors, loved ones, and ensuring the safety of our young people."

Congress has approved $8.4 billion in funding this year to address the opioid crisis, according to Collins' office.

The Maine's Attorney General's office reports that 86 people died from drug overdoses in Maine during the first 90 days of the year.