Senators Unveil Legislation to Invest $45 Billion to Address Opioid Crisis
Senators Call on President Trump and GOP in Congress to Support Bill, Join in Securing Resources for Struggling Communities
Unlike GOP Health Care Scheme, Senators’ Bill Does Not Decimate Medicaid or Serve As Replacement for Coverage
Washington (October 25, 2017) - To address a number of critical shortcomings of our nation’s approach to combating the opioid epidemic, including the administration’s unwillingness to make a long-term investment in the fight, U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Al Franken (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act. This legislation would invest $45 billion for prevention, detection, surveillance and treatment of opioids. This is the same number proposed by Senate Republicans earlier this summer.
“The Trump administration’s plan to address the opioid epidemic has been little more than empty words and broken promises," said Senator Markey. "What we need to fight this scourge is continued and reliable long-term investments in prevention, treatment, recovery, and monitoring. I am pleased to introduce the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act with Senator Casey so that we can provide the funding to treat this epidemic like the emergency it is. Republicans have already agreed to this funding language in other recent health debates, and I hope they will once again agree to work with us to get this passed."
“This epidemic knows no bounds. Whether impacting children, parents, or grandparents, the opioid crisis continues to grow in its intensity and its harm,” said Senator Casey. “In order to effectively address the problem, we must continue to commit resources to our states and our local communities. In my recent travels across Pennsylvania, to communities both large and small, one of the most common concerns in fighting the opioid crisis is the need for more support for local resources. This legislation incorporates bipartisan, commonsense principles to make sure we’re providing assistance where it is most needed.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
This legislation would:
- Authorize and appropriate $4,474,800,000 for substance abuse programs for the individual states for each of fiscal years 2018 through 2027.
- Build upon bipartisanship by adding this funding to the Account for the State Response to the Opioid Abuse Crisis, which was created by the 21st Century Cures Act. The 21st Century Cures Act passed the Senate with 94 votes.
- Expand the use of funding already allowed under 21st Century Cures, so that states may also use this money for detection, surveillance and treatment of co-occurring infections, as well as for surveillance, data collection and reporting on the number of opioid overdose deaths.
- Promote research on addiction and pain related to substance abuse, and authorizes and appropriates $50,400,000 for each of fiscal years 2018 through 2022. Under the bill, the National Institutes of Health would be responsible for distributing this money.
- Provide stable, long-term funding, a total of $45 billion over ten years to the states and over five years to research efforts. This is similar to the stable, long-term investment that Senate Republicans proposed as a response to the opioid emergency.
- Not replace coverage for treatment under Medicaid or the treatment requirements for private insurance in the Affordable Care Act. Both of these remain critical for combating the opioid abuse epidemic.
The legislation has been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose, International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA), National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Association of Social Workers, National Council for Behavioral Health, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National Safety Council, Treatment Communities of America, and Young People in Recovery.