(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The five-year farm bill awaiting a vote in the Senate includes provisions to fight the opioid epidemic.
Along with the usual mix of price supports and crop insurance, the farm bill includes money to use telemedicine to provide opioid treatment. Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly says the opioid epidemic has hit rural areas hard, and those areas often don’t have a bricks-and-mortar treatment center nearby. Increasing the availability of telemedicine would give them access to counselors in other cities.
The House failed to pass a farm bill last month in a stalemate over immigration. Donnelly says five years ago, the House had the same problem and simply approved the Senate version. He says he’s hopeful something similar will happen this year.
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved the bill on a 20-1 vote.
Farmers need to know by the end of the year what the farm bill includes so they can make planting decisions for next year.