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The U.S. Senate passes legislation to tackle opioid epidemic

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Richmond (WSLS 10) - The United States Senate passed a bill Thursday aimed at tackling heroin and prescription drug overdoses and deaths.

The legislation is a part of the comprehensive addiction and recovery act which authorizes more than $300 million in federal grants to state and local facilities.

The money would be used during a five year period for prevention efforts and better treatment for addicts.

Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner co-sponsored the legislation, which now heads to the House of Representatives.

"CARA is a good step forward, this bipartisan bill," Senator Warner said. "But if we don't fund these programs then we're going to see, unfortunately, this type of drug abuse scourge continue all across virginia and all across the nation."

The bill also improves prescription drug monitoring programs and expands access for law enforcement and first responders to overdose-reversal drugs.

728 Virginians died due to heroin and prescription drug overdoes in 2014 alone.