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Shaheen introduces bill to prioritize opioid funding to hardest-hit states

TARGETED OPIOID FORMULA ACT. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has been a leading voice on Capitol Hill demanding a change in the way federal opioid funding is distributed to the states under the 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed and signed into law last year by then-President Barack Obama.

The New Hampshire Democrat has argued that funding from the law should be directed to the states suffering the most from the opioid crisis, rather than basing the funding solely on states’ populations. That formula, which was put into place by the Obama administration, resulted in New Hampshire receiving only $6 million of the nearly $1 billion included in the Cures Act.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced in April that it was providing $485 million in grants nationally in the first round, with New Hampshire receiving $3.1 million.

This week, Shaheen joined with fellow New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Republican Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, both of West Virginia, to introduce the Targeted Opioid Formula Act.

According to Shaheen, the bill would change how federal agencies determine State Targeted Response Opioid Grant funding for fiscal year 2018, which began on Oct. 1, “to prioritize states like New Hampshire and West Virginia, which have the highest mortality rates from opioid overdoses in the nation."

“Federal resources should be appropriately prioritized for communities hardest-hit by the opioid epidemic. New Hampshire continues to set overdose death records, yet is not getting a proportional amount of federal support,” Shaheen said.

“I have long said that the funding formula used to allocate funding from the 21st Century Cures Act is flawed and that funding must be distributed based on per-capita death rates instead of just favoring the biggest states,” Hassan added. “This legislation is critical to changing that formula so that states most impacted by this epidemic receive the resources they need to combat this crisis.”