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Health Highlights: Sept. 28, 2018

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Opioid Bill Gets Bipartisan Support

In a rare bipartisan move, both the House and Senate have reached a compromise on legislation to address the opioid epidemic.

Containing a mix of law enforcement and public health measures, including one that aims to block deadly fentanyl from being imported through the mail and one that will allow more nurses to prescribe medication for opioid addiction, the bill is 653 pages long, the New York Times reported.

Yet another part of the legislation could make it easier for Medicaid recipients to get inpatient care for substance abuse over the next five years, the newspaper said.

"While there is more work to be done, this bipartisan legislation takes an important step forward and will save lives," a group of Republican and Democratic committee leaders said in a statement Tuesday.

But addiction experts say that while many of the measures will help incrementally, the investment still falls short of what is needed to stem the tide of opioid abuse. Nearly 50,000 Americans died in opioid-related deaths in 2017, the Times reported.

Both chambers still need to vote on the compromise bill. The House could vote this week, before its members adjourn to hit the campaign trail, and the Senate could take it up next week.

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