Addiction tearing America apart brings political opponents together

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Political opponents join together to fight a common enemy: addiction.

The left and right share a sliver of common ground in DC. Fifty-six democrats and 44 republicans in the House are pushing eight proposed laws to loosen opiate-addiction’s ever-tightening grip on America.

“Heroin addiction does not choose Rs and Ds,” said Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH).

The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force she helped form wants to crack down on over-prescription and prescription theft, make funds and drugs for addiction treatment more available, and provide more assistance to veterans when addiction lands them in court.

Last year this group brought forward a similar agenda. Of the nine bills on that list, most are stalled.

Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Me.) said the opioid crisis impacts six out of 10 Mainers, “this heroin and opioid epidemic has hit rural America and rural Maine big-time.” He signed on in support of an effort to increase treatment options for babies exposed to opiates in the womb.

The idea remains in the earliest stages of debate. “It is such tearful thing to even think about,” said Poliquin, “infants being born where they’re now going through withdrawal.”

New Hampshire Rep. Annie Kuster’s bill to collect better data on VA prescriptions did become law – and Wednesday, President Trump signed another bill dealing with drugs at the border. The law calls on Customs and Border Protection to increase the number of chemical screening devices in use. The goal is catch more narcotics before they enter the country.

“We’ve worked across the aisle to achieve real results,” said Kuster.

Time is already running short for this year’s push. That’s because with an election coming this November, lawmakers will need to spend time on the campaign trail, and away from D.C.

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