WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a package of legislation designed to fight an opioid epidemic that kills an estimated 11 Ohioans each day.

Ohio's U.S. Senators, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, were key backers of the legislation.

“We know we have more work to do to fight this crisis and to get more resources to communities in Ohio,” Brown said in a speech on the U.S. Senate floor. “But this package is an important, bipartisan step forward, and I hope we can get this to the president’s desk and signed into law soon.”

The Senate measure passed by a 98-to-1 vote, after passing the House of Representatives last week, 393 to 8. All Ohio members of Congress supported the package.

The far-reaching Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act includes provisions to encourage development of non-opioid pain killers; require the federal government to study the effects of federal and state opioid prescribing limits on patients; encourage safe disposal of unused opioid medications and boost federal support for state-run prescription drug monitoring programs. 

Groups as disparate as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Cancer Society's action network applauded its passage. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill in several days.

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