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After Securing Significant Increase in Opioid Response Funding & Set-Aside For Hardest Hit States, NH Delegation Makes Recommendations to Trump Administration to Make Sure New Hampshire Gets its Fair Share

**Shaheen, Hassan, Shea Porter & Kuster call for set-aside fund to go towards a “short and targeted list” of hardest hit states and establishment of a $10 million minimum for states on this list** 

**Shaheen and Hassan, members of the Common Sense Caucus, helped negotiate the additional $3.3 billion and agreement to help the hardest hit states get their fair share**

(Washington, DC)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led a New Hampshire delegation letter with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02) to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), calling on the Trump administration to make sure New Hampshire gets its fair share of new opioid funding that the delegation was instrumental in securing. The omnibus government funding bill signed into law on Friday, provides an increase of $3.3 billion in opioid funding, of which $142 million is set aside for states with the highest mortality rates from overdoses. The Senators and Congresswomen are requesting that the Trump administration implement specific policies that ensures this set-aside fund prioritizes funding for states like New Hampshire. 

“We write today as a united delegation to stress the importance of prioritizing funding for states like New Hampshire that have been hit the hardest by the opioid epidemic and to ask that you work with us to ensure that New Hampshire receives a large enough proportion of federal funding to address its needs,” wrote the delegation.

The letter continues, referencing President Trump’s recent visit to New Hampshire, “As the President also noted in his remarks, defeating this epidemic is going to require an all-hands on deck response from our state, local and federal agencies. In order to turn the tide of this epidemic, especially in one of the hardest-hit states, we need sustained resources to support our first responders, doctors, treatment providers and law enforcement officials … We look forward to working with you on this important issue, because, as the President said in his speech in New Hampshire, ‘failure is not an option. Addiction is not our future. We will liberate our country from this crisis.’”

To this end, the delegation recommends three specific policies for the administration to adopt for allocation of the $142 million set-aside for hardest hit states: 

  1. Ensure that the list of states eligible for the set-aside enhancement grant is short and targeted, in order to maximize funding effectiveness for states that need it most.
  2. Establish a $10 million minimum for grants from the set-aside enhancement funds.
  3. Distribute the set-aside funds to states based on a sliding scale according to mortality rate instead of distributing funds evenly amongst a list of eligible states.

New Hampshire had the third highest drug overdose death rate in the nation in 2016.

Senator Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the lead Democrat of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee, has led efforts in Congress to respond to the opioid crisis. As a result of her advocacy on the bipartisan Common Sense Caucus and her engagement during the writing of the funding bill, Senator Shaheen secured the $3.3 billion in additional resources. This funding will go towards a number of key programs through the Department of HHS for treatment and prevention, the Department of Justice for law enforcement and grant resources, and other federal agencies to help communities impacted by the opioid epidemic. Senator Shaheen has also introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Hassan that would change how federal agencies determine State Targeted Response Opioid Crisis Grant funding to prioritize states with the highest mortality rates in the nation from opioid overdoses. 

Senator Hassan has fought to secure additional resources for Granite Staters on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. As a member of the bipartisan Common Sense Coalition, Senator Hassan worked to help pave the way for the bipartisan funding agreement in February, and recently helped introduce the CARA 2.0 Act to increase funding authorization levels, while making important policy changes to help step up efforts to combat the crisis and identify key areas to prioritize as federal funding goes out to communities in need.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster, the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, has been working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to identify ways to adjust the opioid funding distribution formula to better direct resources to the hardest hit states. In October 2017, Kuster and Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-WV) introduced the Federal Opioid Response Fairness Act, which would make clear that per capita overdose deaths should be a part of the formula used to distribute Cures funding.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter, a Member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force and the Congressional Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus, has been outspoken about the failure of the Trump administration to adequately respond to this deadly crisis. She worked with Congressional Leadership and senior appropriators to secure increased funding for the hardest hit states and was pleased to see it included in the final government funding bill. Shea-Porter had repeatedly called for increased funding to be included in the government spending bill and for the administration to address the inequity in the funding formula. She has introduced legislation with Rep. Loebsack (D-IA) to invest $45 billion in the prevention, detection, surveillance and treatment of opioid abuse.

The letter can be read in full here.