Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Supports Emergency Funding Bill to Combat Opioid and Heroin Abuse

Opioids contributed to 45 percent of the 843 Wisconsin drug overdose deaths in 2013

By - Feb 8th, 2016 10:14 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced her support for emergency funding legislation to address the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic that is devastating communities in Wisconsin and across the country. The Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act (S. 2423), introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), would provide supplemental appropriations totaling $600 million to programs at the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Opioid abuse is an epidemic in the United States that continues to grow at an alarming rate,” said Senator Baldwin. “As communities in Wisconsin continue to struggle with this epidemic on a daily basis, Congress must act immediately to supply additional funding for prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. I am proud to support this effort and the recent proposal from President Obama that would provide more resources to our first responders, healthcare providers and criminal justice system to continue to respond to this national emergency.”

“Every day at Coulee Council, we see people struggling with opioid and substance misuse, who desperately need treatment and support. This bill recognizes that additional, immediate resources are necessary and that the lives of good people are at stake in this crisis. I appreciate Senator Baldwin’s support of this legislation and hope it is quickly approved,” said Cheryl Hancock, Coulee Council on Addictions, Inc. Executive Director.

From 2002 to 2013, opioid-related deaths have quadrupled nationally according to the latest data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. And in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, drug overdose deaths doubled from 2004 to 2013, and more Wisconsin residents died in 2013 as a result of drug overdose than from motor vehicle crashes, suicide, breast cancer, colon cancer, firearms, influenza, or HIV.  Opioid pain relievers contributed to 45 percent of the 843 drug overdose deaths in 2013, while heroin contributed to 27 percent.

Senator Baldwin is a strong supporter of increased funding for prescription drug and opioid abuse prevention, treatment and research programs. In March, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, she led a call to strengthen federal investments in the FY 2016 budget to combat the growing prescription drug and opioid abuse epidemic in America, including the CDC’s Prevention for States program. The final FY 2016 funding legislation (the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016) included increased funding for prevention, research and treatment programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Last week, President Obama announced his proposal to invest $1.1 billion in his FY 2017 budget proposal to address the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use. The President’s proposal takes a two-pronged approach. It includes $1 billion in new mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use. This funding will boost efforts to help individuals with an opioid use disorder seek treatment, successfully complete treatment, and sustain recovery.

This legislation would provide additional emergency funding to the following federal programs:

Department of Justice

  • Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program – $200 million in increased funding for state and local initiatives on drug treatment and enforcement programs, law enforcement, and prevention and education programs.
  • Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Anti-Heroin Task Force Grant – $25 million to assist state drug task forces in dealing with particularly high rates of heroin abuse. This program targets resources to support police operations on the ground.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant – $250 million in additional funds to distribute to states for programs related to prevention, treatment, recovery support and other services.  For many states, this is the primary source of federal funding to address the misuse of alcohol and drugs.
  • Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States – $50 million to support the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s work on prescription drug monitoring programs, community or insurer and health system interventions, and rapid response projects.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse – $35 million for targeted research on drug addiction and efforts to disseminate the results to improve prevention and treatment.
  • Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success – $20 million to address underage drinking and prescription drug misuse and abuse among 12 to 25 year olds.
  • Capacity Expansion for Medication Assisted Treatment for Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction – $10 million to help improve access in high risk communities to medication assisted treatment services for treating heroin and prescription opioids.
  • Safe Schools/Healthy Students – $5 million to support school and community partnerships in efforts to create safe, drug-free and respectful environments for learning and to promote the behavioral health of children and youth.
  • Recovery Community Services Program – $5 million to assist community organizations and develop organized statewide network for peer–to-peer recovery support including activities such as peer coaching, peer support groups, life skills workshops and peer-led housing and employment connector programs.

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