U.S. President Barack Obama will sign legislation passed by Congress aimed at combating a nationwide epidemic of heroin and other opioid addictions, the White House said on Wednesday.
After months of wrangling, the Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday, 92-2, to pass the bill that has also been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The measure aims to help communities develop treatment and overdose programs at a time when fewer than half the estimated 2.2 million Americans who need help for opioid abuse are receiving it, according to the U.S. Centers for Human and Health Services.
The White House said in a statement the bill "falls far short" of the necessary funding, but Obama would sign it "because some action is better than none."
Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, a leading proponent of the legislation, said that it marked "the first time that we've treated addiction like the disease that it is, which will help put an end to the stigma that has surrounded addiction for too long."
While its passage marked a rare bipartisan effort in this election year, Democrats complained that it does not provide enough resources to effectively address the drug problem.