South Dakota lawmaker introduces bill to fight opioid epidemic at colleges

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BLACK HILLS, S.D. (KOTA TV) - One study says from 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people died from a drug overdose in the United States.

Pills on shelves at a pharmacy. (KOTA TV)

And earlier in July, two U.S. senators introduced legislation to specifically address the opioid crisis on college campuses.

Representatives Dusty Johnson of South Dakota and David Trone of Maryland introduced the "Campus Prevention and Recovery Services for Students Act of 2019."

The bill aims to help institutions of higher education implement programs to prevent alcohol and substance misuse on campus as well as support those with substance use disorders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on average, about 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

"What we want to do is make sure that within the existing funding framework, we make it clear that we have got to prioritize college students. We're not doing as good a job as we need to be about meeting these students on campus and connecting them with the resources that already exist. When you do a better job of getting people connected to the resources, that's how we're going to get people healthier," Congressman Dusty Johnson says.

Johnson says this is the second piece of legislation he supported this month to combat the opioid crisis.