US President Donald Trump signed a law today that seeks to contain the crisis of addiction to opioid analgesics that every day kills more than a hundred people in the US, in addition to putting barriers to the entry into the country of powerful drugs like fentanyl.
"Together, we are going to put an end to the scourge of drug addiction in the US We are going to put an end to it, or we are going to at least deal an extremely big blow to this terrible, terrible problem," Trump said in a speech at the White House.
The so-called "Law to support patients and their communities" was approved by overwhelming majorities in the US Congress, with 98 votes in favor and 1 against in the Senate, and 393 votes in favor and 8 against. in the House of Representatives.
The legislation seeks to reduce "access to opiates" in the US market. and opening pathways "to prevention, treatment and recovery services" for those addicted to those painkillers and heroin, Trump said in a statement.
The measure also aims to make illegal synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and carfentanil, difficult to enter the country, and to promote the investigation of pain treatments that are not derived from opium.
"The law gives the authorities the tools and resources they need to prevent trafficking in ultra-lethal drugs such as fentanyl through our postal mail," Trump said.
Fentanyl is a powerful analgesic that is usually used to treat cancer and that criminal groups use to increase the potency of heroin, which increases the risk of death from overdose; while carfentanil is a sedative up to 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
Despite these measures, the law does not imply a significant increase in funds to fight the epidemic, nor does it significantly expand the treatment mechanisms for addicts, a step that many experts consider necessary.
More than four million Americans – including 250,000 teenagers – are addicted to prescription painkillers, and overdose is the most common cause of violent death in the country, ahead of traffic accidents or guns, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. USA (DEA).
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 64,000 people died in 2016 from overdoses of opiates (including heroin) in the United States, which means the death of 175 Americans a day and seven fatalities hourly.