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In Effort To Stem Flood Of Opioids Into Country, Bill Would Tighten Up International Shipping Rules


The legislation would require packages shipped into the United States from foreign postal services and through the U.S. Postal Service to provide information on who is sending the package, where they are sending it from, who it’s being sent to, and what the package contains.

Stat: Bipartisan Bill Aims To Choke Off Opioid Shipments Into US
Aiming to choke off shipments of powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is introducing legislation on Tuesday to require more information on packages mailed into the US. The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Republicans Rob Portman and Marco Rubio along with Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Maggie Hassan, was introduced late last Congress but never moved. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the House by Representatives Pat Tberi, a Republican, and Richard Neal, a Democrat. (Scott, 2/14)

In other news on the opioid crisis —

Kansas City Star: Obamacare Repeal Would Gut Opioid Treatment Gains, Study Finds
A new study by Harvard Medical School and New York University shows that repealing the Affordable Care Act would cut $5.5 billion a year for substance-abuse and mental health treatment, creating a 50 percent spike in the number of people unable to address their opioid dependence. The lost funding would have sweeping implications as deaths from opioid abuse continue to rise across the nation and local governments struggle with the effects on their communities. (Pugh, 2/14)

WBUR: Fight Over Hyannis Needle Exchange Program Goes Before Mass. High Court 
The state’s highest court is considering a case that could have implications for needle exchange programs across Massachusetts. Justices for the state’s Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday heard arguments in an almost year and a half long fight between the town of Barnstable and the Aids Support Group of Cape Cod over the group’s needle exchange program in Hyannis. Barnstable officials issued a cease and desist order against the program back in 2015, saying it was behind the large numbers of discarded needles littered around Hyannis. (Becker, 2/14)

Cincinnati Enquirer: John Kasich Would Block Access To Heroin Death Reviews
Gov. John Kasich’s budget would give counties a new way to review drug overdose deaths, but many components of those investigations into Ohio’s drug epidemic could be shielded from public view. Ohio leads the nation in opioid overdose deaths. More than 3,000 people died in 2015 because of fatal drug overdoses – a number that has increased each year since 2009, according to state health department records. (Balmert, 2/14)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Study: New Moms May Be Getting Opioid Painkillers They Don’t Need
Twelve percent of low-income women in Pennsylvania filled an opioid prescription several days after a normal birth, even though most of them had no clear-cut medical need for an addictive painkiller, according to a new study. About 2,600 of those women filled a second opioid prescription up to two months later, even though most had no pain-causing obstetrical condition in their medical records, and some had a history of non-opioid substance abuse, the University of Pittsburgh analysis found. (McCullough, 2/14)

The CT Mirror: With Drug Deaths Up 44%, An Insurer Bankrolls A New Approach
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urged a Hartford audience Tuesday to take up his grim new morning reading habit: He scans the obituary pages for the sudden deaths of young adults, too often the telltale sign of what he says is Connecticut’s raging opioid epidemic. Malloy talked about his new practice of decoding death notices for evidence of overdoses at the kickoff of a three-year effort in Hartford to test new ways to attack drug addiction before it takes root in vulnerable teens, a project financed by the charitable foundation of UnitedHealthcare. (Pazniokas, 2/14)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.


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