WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led a group of 28 senators in calling for increased federal funding to help combat the opioid and illicit drug abuse epidemic. As opioid related fatal overdoses continue to grow across the country, the senators sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, urging them to include increased funding to combat the epidemic in the FY2018 Congressional budget.


“We agree with President Trump that “opioid abuse has become a crippling problem throughout the United States,” and that, “we have to solve this crisis.” To succeed, it is essential that existing substance use disorder programs across agencies at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, continue to be prioritized,” wrote the senators. Without significant, sustained investments – including funding for local communities and organizations - that reflect the scale of this crisis, our communities will be at a disadvantage in breaking the cycle of prescription and illicit drug abuse.”


“However, we risk losing the bipartisan progress we have made if the 21st Century Cures Act funding is used to replace, rather than supplement, our historical investments in programs to address substance use disorders in this country,” the senators continue. “To this end, we strongly oppose cuts to existing opioid and substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery programs or the use of funding authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act to offset such cuts. We request that the FY2018 appropriations bill reflect the magnitude of this public health crisis by increasing federal investment in addressing opioid and all substance use disorders across HHS agencies.”


Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Al Franken (D-MN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jon Tester (D-MT), Angus King (I-ME), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) also signed the letter.


A copy of the letter is available here


An online version of this release is available here