Congress recently appropriated $3.3 billion for fiscal year 2018


Washington (April 18, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today queried the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) about how they plan to distribute the new funding Congress appropriated to help respond to the nation’s prescription and illicit opioid epidemic, which killed 42,000 Americans in 2016. The Senator also asked the agencies how they will measure the success of these new investments, including how they are making a meaningful impact in improving the federal government’s response to the opioid crisis. Last month, Congress appropriated $3.3 billion for fiscal year 2018. This comes after Congress authorized $1 billion in 2016 through the 21st Century Cures Act. The second half of that $1 billion was just released to states today.


“States cannot adequately address this public health crisis without these critical dollars, and it is imperative that the administration dispense this much-needed assistance as soon as possible,” writes Senator Markey in his letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Now more than ever, providers, first-responders, communities, families, and individuals suffering from opioid use disorders need new, enhanced resources to respond to the health and economic burden of this relentless epidemic.”


A copy of Senator Markey’s letter can be found HERE.


In his letter, Senator Markey asks HHS and DOJ to respond to questions that include:

  • When will you make funding applications and instructions available to states, researchers, or other grantees and how will the availability of these applications be communicated? 
  • How will the funding be allocated over the timeframes specified in the legislation to ensure that states get resources as quickly as possible?
  • What are the barriers to expedient release or availability of the appropriated funds?
  • How will you prioritize spending on aspects of the opioid crisis with unmet need?
  • Will the Department of Justice use a portion of its new funding to help ensure that all forms of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) are available for inmates of a correctional facility?