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Welch Advances Legislation to Combat Opioid Crisis

January 11, 2018
Press Release
As Trump Signs Welch-Cosponsored Fentanyl Bill Into Law, Congressman Introduces Legislation to Fund Opioid Alternatives Research

WASHINGTON – In an Oval Office ceremony late yesterday, President Trump signed into law legislation cosponsored by Rep. Welch (D-VT) that will stem the illegal flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids across the U.S. border. Additionally, Welch has introduced bipartisan legislation to fund non-addictive alternatives to the use of opioids for pain treatment.

“Across Vermont and our country, families and communities are struggling with the scourge of opioid addiction,” said Rep. Welch. “This new law will provide much needed chemical detection technology for CBP officers to intercept highly lethal fentanyl shipments illegally coming across our borders and headed to the streets of our communities. And our new bipartisan legislation will fund much needed NIH research into alternatives to opioids for the treatment of pain.”

The INTERDICT Act, cosponsored by Welch and signed into law late yesterday, authorizes $9 million for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to fund new screening devices, laboratory equipment, facilities, and personnel for the latest in chemical screening devices and scientific support to detect and intercept fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

The Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act, introduced by Welch and Rep. McKinley (R-WV), would establish a new large-scale initiative at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to expand research on opioid misuse, the understanding of pain, and the discovery of non-addictive, non-opioid alternatives to treat pain. The bill will provide $5 billion dollars over the next five years for the new NIH initiative.  A companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI).

Welch is a member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic and a senior member of both the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Oversight Committee.

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