Trump signs legislation to tackle opiate addiction

President Donald Trump has signed new legislation into law that he hopes will “end the scourge” of addiction to opiates in the US.

CNN reported that Trump signed the law at the White House yesterday during an event marking the administration’s “year of action” to combat the addiction epidemic in the US.

The bill includes provisions that could promote research into painkilling drugs that are not addictive, as well as expanding access to treatment for substance use disorders for patients on Medicaid.

Earlier this month the Senate approved the legislation by a vote of 98-1, following a vote in the House of Representatives of 393-8.

At the same time the administration announced public-private partnerships with a range of organisations including Johnson & Johnson, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

These partnerships will see the private companies commit to programmes such as drug disposal programmes, improving medical records, improving education about opioids, and helping people recover from addiction.

A year ago, president Trump declared the opioid crisis a “national emergency” and since then Congress has earmarked more than $8 billion to tackle the crisis.

While critics have said this is not nearly enough, preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics showed the number of opioid-related deaths had begun to fall in the 12 month period ending in March.

These latest available figures showed that there were just under 68,690 drug overdose deaths, down from an all-time high of nearly 71,000 in the year ending in November and below predictions of around 71,000 deaths.

Trump said: “Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America. We are going to end it or we are going to at least make an extremely big dent in this terrible, terrible problem.”

At the same time, Pfizer and Eli Lilly announced complete results from a phase 3 study of tanezumab, a drug they hope will provide an opioid free alternative painkiller in patients with osteoarthritis (OA).

The study met all three co-primary efficacy endpoints, demonstrating that among patients with moderate-to-severe OA pain of the knee or hip, both dosing regimens of tanezumab were associated with a statistically significant improvement in pain, physical function and patient’s global assessment of their OA, compared to placebo.

Data were presented during a late-breaking oral session at the 2018 American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology for Health Professionals Annual Meeting in Chicago.


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