Congressman McKinley commends bipartisan opioid bill
Late Wednesday afternoon, President Trump signed a bill into effect that will provide help in the battle against opioids in West Virginia.
It was a big victory for the state, but specifically for one local congressman.
“We have 52 overdose deaths per 100,000. We're leading the nation. We've got to find a solution to this,” said Congressman David McKinley (R-WV).
H.R. 6 builds on previous efforts to fight the opioid epidemic that have gone through the house over the last two years.
McKinley had a hand in this opioid package, championing four bills in it.
The bill will triple funding for West Virginia to fight opioids and has been a two-year process to get ready.
"This is going to be good, because it's very comprehensive,” McKinley said. “I think it will set the tone for where we want to go and it will show where we're going to authorize the money to be spent. We got $6.7 billion in this year. Last year, $4 billion. How's that money to be spent?”
Originally, funding was based on the number of overdoses per state, as opposed to the rate of overdoses.
That hurt West Virginia, which has a smaller population than many states.
Now, the funding is there and will focus on things like alternatives to opioids, access to increased drug disposal programs and preventing overdoses after hospital discharges.
"I think we're trying to address things so we don't have opioid addictions. We have alternative ways. When people get their pain medicine, maybe they're not given a pill. Maybe there's an alternative type of medicine. Those are the things included in this legislation,” McKinley said. “How else we can address pain?”
McKinley said the biggest goal is to make sure the number of overdose deaths starts a steady decline and hopes this bill will be a big help in doing that.
"I think it's going to be a good bill. It's going to help us address this opioid problem. We cannot allow this to continue across the country,” he said.
Senators Joe Manchin and Shelly Moore Capito also had roles in passing this bill, which had major support from both sides of the capitol.