A portion of a bill passed Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives will help treat opioid abuse and mental illness.
The 21st Century Cures Act gives state governments $1 billion to prevent and treat the abuse of opioids and other addictive drugs. It also expands government mental health programs, according to the AP.
Overall, the Cures Act aimed to update the Food and Drug Administration's current approval process, though. Patient advocacy groups, drug and device companies and lobbyists argued the FDA's approval process delayed potentially lifesaving drugs from reaching those that need them.
But some say the Cures Act goes too far.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, attacked it Monday as "political cover for huge giveaways to giant drug companies," according to the AP.
Still, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the reforms regarding mental health in the Cures Act are long overdue. He said Wednesday that some of the Cures Act was based on the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act. He introduced the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act to the U.S. Senate on Aug. 5, 2015, but it has not proceeded.
"We are warehousing people in jails and other places and not giving them the treatment they need in order to get their basic underlying problem taken care of," Cornyn said. "So what this legislation does is provides a pathway to treatment, primarily by using pre-existing appropriations to make grants to our states and local communities so they can deal with these using the very best practices in the country."