Can sides find common ground?
Another day, another bill in Congress aimed at curbing the drug abuse epidemic sweeping the nation. This one was approved Monday by a vote of 99-1 in the Senate.
A similar bill was approved several weeks ago by the House of Representatives. Now, the two chambers must reconcile their versions into a final measure to send to President Donald Trump.
A veritable shopping list of steps is included in the Senate bill. It ranges from more money for treatment centers to making it easier for the National Institutes of Health to approve research on non-addictive pain medication.
There is no silver bullet solution to drug addiction, of course. Law enforcement, education, research on drugs that may help addicts, treatment centers … the list of measures that may help is a long one.
But while lawmakers at both the state and federal levels try to find a formula that works, the death toll continues to rise.
The national toll topped 71,000 during the 12-month period that ended in January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Clearly, a more effective strategy needs to be found — and soon.