Following Her Successful Effort to Secure Funding Flexibility to Include Meth & Cocaine Treatment, Shaheen Urges Trump Administration to Quickly Provide New Guidance to States

January 23, 2020

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, called on the Trump administration to “expeditiously” provide guidance to states on the implementation of the provision she authored in government funding legislation that gives treatment providers flexibility to use federal funding provided by the State Opioid Response grant program to help patients suffering from meth and cocaine dependencies. Previously, federal law only allowed SOR grants to be used by providers to treat patients who suffer from opioid-related substance use disorders. The changed authored by Senator Shaheen is based on a key component of her Turn the Tide Act, which she introduced in July, and originated from her discussions with New Hampshire treatment providers.

In her letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Assistant Secretary Elinore McCance-Katz, Shaheen wrote: “This flexibility is a welcome change that will allow states like New Hampshire to remain nimble in addressing an evolving substance use disorder crisis.”

The letter continued: “As a part of the FY 2020 [Funding Opportunity Announcement] for SOR grants, it will be critical that SAMHSA includes substantial and explicit guidance to update and inform states about the new flexibility that is available… If we are going to meet the needs of treatment and recovery providers, first responders and families who are fighting this substance use disorder crisis, we need to continue to work together and provide clear guidance to states.”

Senator Shaheen has prioritized efforts in Congress to combat the substance use disorder epidemic. Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped negotiate a bipartisan agreement in 2018 that resulted in a large national increase in opioid treatment funding through the SOR grant program over two years. She also fought to include the funding set-aside for states with the highest mortality rates. These efforts led to a 1000% increase in federal treatment and prevention funding for New Hampshire.

The full text of the letter is available here.