Health Highlights: Oct. 5, 2018

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Congress Passes Bill to Fight Opioid Crisis

A bipartisan bill to fight the United States' opioid addiction crisis has been passed by Congress.

President Donald Trump said he would sign the bill into law.

As part of the legislation, the U.S. Postal Service would be required to track international packages and test them for drugs, and physicians assistants and nurse practitioners would be allowed to prescribe addiction treatment medication, the Associated Press reported.

The bill would also make a number of changes to Medicare and Medicaid. For the first time, Medicare would be allowed to cover opioid treatment programs that administer methadone, one of three approved medications for opioid addiction.

In 13 states, people aged 65 and older account for the highest rate of opioid-related inpatient stays, the AP reported.

Currently, Medicaid does not pay for substance abuse treatment for anyone arrested and held in jail. The bill would require states to restore coverage for juveniles after their release from custody.

Other measures in the bill would make certain states eligible to receive $30 million grants to pay for job training for recovering addicts, and $25 million in grants would be shared by five states to house addicts who have completed treatment programs and have nowhere to live, the AP reported.

More than 63,600 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, and two-thirds of those deaths involved a prescription or illegal opioid, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Arizona Company Recalls Raw Beef Products Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

An Arizona company has recalled more than 6.5 million pounds (2.9 million kilograms) of beef linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 57 people in 16 states.

Fourteen people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Federal officials said Thursday that their investigation linked the outbreak to ground beef, beef patties and other raw beef products from JBS Tolleson Inc., a meat packing plant west of Phoenix, the Associated Press reported.

The products were packed between July 26 and Sept. 7 and shipped to retailers nationwide, including Walmart, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The recalled beef is marked with "EST.267" on the packaging and was sold under the names Cedar River Farms, ComNor Perfect Choice, Gourmet Burger, Grass Run Farms, Showcase at Walmart and in generic packaging, the AP reported.

Consumers with the recalled beef in their freezers should throw it out or return it to the place of purchases, officials said.

"Salmonella can cause serious illness, so it is critical that everyone take precautions by not eating the recalled meat and thoroughly cooking all beef products," said Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, the AP reported.

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