Lawmakers Take Up Bills Aimed At Combating The Opioid Epidemic

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After passing 25 bills Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to consider even more bills this week and next that are primarily focused on combating the opioid epidemic. 

The bills address a wide range of issues. They include establishing a grant program to create comprehensive opioid recovery centers, promoting research for painkiller alternatives to limit the use of opioids in emergency rooms and trying to prevent patients from having a recurrent overdose after they've been discharged from the emergency room. 

One bill the House already passed increases the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to block shipments of illegal drugs in the mail.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says these measures will also help "crack down on deadly synthetic drugs like fentanyl."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, more than any year on record so far.