Senators Brown and Portman help pass federal addiction law - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Senators Brown and Portman help pass federal addiction law

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

President Donald Trump just signed into law a major, bipartisan comprehensive addiction package.

Senator Sherrod Brown was in the Valley Monday with details on how it can help people affected by the opioid crisis in Ohio. 

Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown were among the lead proponents in getting the legislation passed in the Senate.

One of the most important measures locally includes the removal of an old provision that did not allow mental health facilities to have more than 16 beds for treatment under Medicaid.

"To me, the worst thing is someone who is addicted and wants to get treatment and is convinced to ask for treatment that they are on a waiting list and they wait and wait and wait and people die on these waiting lists," said Brown.

"It's going to create a lot more treatment, a lot more providers, a lot more space. Neil Kennedy was stuck with the 16 beds, now they can expand services so we can get people into treatment faster, in recovery faster, get better faster," said Duane Piccirilli, Executive Director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board.

Brown says the law will help newborns suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome, a withdrawal condition passed on from addicted mothers.

"What's called Bridget's Path in Dayton could become a national model. It saves dollars. It puts babies in a less expensive but more nurturing environment," said Brown.

The legislative package will send funding directly to states so they can make increasing access to addiction treatment a priority.

It helps to prevent over-prescription to patients dealing with pain, and the new law will also help train law enforcement to intercept shipments that contain fentanyl at U.S. borders.

Brown hopes future bills will free up more funding to purchase handheld devices that will help them detect fentanyl during traffic stops.

Right now those potentially life-saving devices cost between $10,000-$20,000 each.

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