The federal government is taking drastic action against opioid addiction this week with a new bill passed by congress and awaiting President Obama's signature. The new bill, called the 21st Century Cares Act, proposes $1 billion for expanded access to drug treatment, research, and prevention.
A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found a sharp rise in fatal overdoses in 2015, with a majority of the deaths linked to fentanyl-laced heroin. Fentanyl is a synthetic opoid that that is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, and up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. The CDC report states, "Recent research indicates the fentanyl involved in these (2015 overdose) deaths is illicitly manufactured, not from medications containing fentanyl." Prescription fentanyl is often provided to cancer patients who have developed a tolerance to weaker prescription opioids.
The 21st Century Cures Act also provides for cancer and Alzheimer's treatment, suicide prevention, and serious mental illness policies.
A toxicology report for Prince confirmed that the singer's death was caused by an accidental overdose of fentanyl.