Baldwin Requests Funding to Study Opioid Crisis
Sen. Tammy Baldwin is behind a push for better data collection and monitoring of opioid use
As the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic plays out across the country, so, too, does the crisis of opioid addiction and overdose death. The spread of COVID-19 hasn’t eliminated addiction, but it has altered treatment access, and added the mental pressures of social isolation. That’s why a group of U.S. senators are requesting more funding for data collection and better monitoring of the opioid crisis as it continues during the pandemic.
U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) are spearheading the effort, backed by 17 of their Senate colleagues. In a joint letter to the leaders of both parties in Congress, the group noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has “dramatically altered the substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery landscape in this country.” Nevertheless, it continues, “the needs of patients and communities are clear.”
Due to the various business shutdowns and the sudden implementation of social distancing many treatment centers either closed or altered their admission process. For patients, the idea of not being able to get help when you need it is jarring. Some have only recently considered recovery, while others are on medication-assisted treatment programs with tight needs and schedules. Not all treatment facilities have closed their doors, however, and instead have worked hard to keep up with what appears to be a growing demand for recovery.
On April 4, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office tweeted that overdoses “continue to surge” from its own area. “If current trends continue, 640 people will die in Milwaukee County this year from a drug overdose.” Spikes in overdoses can be caused by a so-called “bad batch” of narcotics laced with a more lethal substance, like a fentanyl analog. The pandemic, however, has created a unique breeding environment for isolation, depression, and economic desperation.
“Congress must continue to rise to this challenge,” the senators urged, “now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.” They are calling for increased funding to support targeted responses to the addiction crisis in communities. “To this end,” reads the letter, “we urge you to provide $2 billion in funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to administer supplemental grant allocations under the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant program and the state opioid response grant program.”
According to the Department of Health Services (DHS), by the end of 2019, Wisconsin saw over 3,700 opioid-related inpatient and emergency room hospital visits. “As we look to the future,” the senators state in their letter, “it is critical that the needs of providers are met in order to respond to the needs of those struggling with substance misuse, as well as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
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- Isotonitazene (iso) – A new synthetic opioid discovered as powerful as fentanyl - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Jul 22nd, 2020
- Maps Tell Story of City’s Overdose Crisis - Isiah Holmes - Jul 10th, 2020
- Wisconsin Accepting Applications to Pilot New Approach to Treating Substance Use Disorders - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Jul 6th, 2020
- Milwaukee County Headed for Record Overdoses in 2020 - Edgar Mendez - Jun 19th, 2020
- Retaliating Against a Witness Who Provided Information to Law Enforcement About Neopit Woman’s Drug Dealing Leads to Prison Sentence - U.S. Department of Justice - Jun 16th, 2020
- Grant extension of $500K good news for MKE’s efforts to combat opioid epidemic - Ald. Michael Murphy - Jun 10th, 2020
- Baldwin Requests Funding to Study Opioid Crisis - Isiah Holmes - May 22nd, 2020
- U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Jeanne Shaheen Lead Colleagues in Calling for Increased Opioid Funding in Coronavirus Relief Package - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - May 19th, 2020
- Award-Winning Wisconsin Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Changes Prescribing Culture, Drives Down Opioid and Controlled Substance Prescribing - Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services - May 11th, 2020
Read more about Opioid Crisis here