Senator Calls For $600 Million In Emergency Funding For Opioid Crisis

By Victoria Kim 11/23/15

The legislation will have to wait until the Senate is back in session next week.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
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Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has introduced new legislation that would dedicate $600 million in emergency funding to combat the opioid crisis.

“The opioid crisis is spiraling out of control,” the Democratic senator from New Hampshire said in a statement. “This should be an all-hands-on-deck moment, not just for New Hampshire, but for our country.”

Like many towns and cities across the United States, opioid abuse is a growing problem in Shaheen’s home state, where heroin deaths surpassed highway fatalities earlier this year.

The Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act would take a two-pronged approach, as reported in detail by The Huffington Post. Roughly $250 million would go to the Department of Health and Human Services to support state programs related to prevention, treatment, and recovery. Another $200 million would fund local and state programs related to law enforcement, as well as prevention and education.

About $50 million would go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and $35 million would go to the National Institute on Drug Abuse to monitor prescription drug programs and do targeted research on drug addiction. Community service programs, school safety measures, and local law enforcement agencies in areas heavily affected by opioid abuse would also be supported by the funding.

“We are losing lives daily and our first responders, healthcare providers and criminal justice system are overwhelmed,” said Shaheen. “To stem the tide, we urgently need additional funding for prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, and this legislation would provide resources to those on the front lines.”

Shaheen will formally introduce the bill when the Senate is in session next week.

“The heroin and opioid crisis is the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing our state, and we must all work together, at every level, on a comprehensive approach to stem and reverse this tide,” said New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, in a statement regarding Shaheen’s bill.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr