NH Delegation Statements on NH Application for Federal Opioid Response Grants

August 15, 2018

**Senators Shaheen and Hassan Helped Negotiate the Bipartisan Budget Agreement that Includes the Opioid Response Funding Made Available to New Hampshire**

** Shea-Porter and Kuster Urged House Leadership to Increase Opioid Response Funding for New Hampshire**

(Washington, DC) – Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster released the following statements in response to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ application to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for opioid response funding that the New Hampshire delegation helped secure. As members of the Common Sense Caucus, Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped negotiate for an additional $6 billion in opioid response resources in the budget agreement reached in February, as well as a commitment to set aside a portion of that funding to states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. Kuster and Shea-Porter pressed House leadership and senior appropriators to include increased funding to combat the opioid epidemic during budget negotiations. The delegation also led efforts to change the SAMHSA funding formula that previously put states like New Hampshire with small populations and high mortality rates from opioid overdoses, at a disadvantage. These successful efforts led to a substantial increase in funding available to New Hampshire for opioid response efforts, as the state applies for $22.9 million for each of the two years. 

“This funding will help save lives and I’m very pleased the state is submitting a broad plan to put these resources to use,” said Shaheen. “New Hampshire desperately needs to expand access to treatment as far too many Granite Staters are suffering with substance use disorders with limited means to get the care they need. This available funding is a significant down payment on improving treatment access in our state and was the product of bipartisan, good-faith negotiations in Congress. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue to work across the aisle for additional opioid response funding as one of my top priorities in the Senate.”

“It is long past time that New Hampshire receives significant federal funding to help combat the deadly fentanyl, heroin, and opioid epidemic that continues to ravage communities across our state, and the additional $22.9 million for the remainder of the fiscal year that we worked to secure is critical to those efforts,” said Hassan. “I am pleased that the state’s application for this funding includes important priorities that I have consistently supported, including expanding access to medication-assisted treatment, improving access to recovery housing, and increasing prevention services. This fight is far from over, and I’ll keep working to ensure that those on the front lines of this epidemic have the resources they need to help Granite Staters struggling with addiction get their lives back on track.” 

“It’s been clear for some time that substance abuse treatment providers in the Granite State need financial support to turn the tide in the deadly opioid crisis that is devastating communities across our state and nation,” said Shea-Porter. “Many providers are struggling and have expressed concern that they may have to reduce their treatment capacity because of a lack of resources. This $22.9 million in federal funding, which the delegation fought for in the bipartisan budget agreement, is a significant step forward and will help many in our state. I will keep working to expand access to quality healthcare while defending Granite Staters’ healthcare from the administration’s dangerous attacks and its sabotage, which threaten the progress we’ve made expanding coverage and access to treatment.” 

“I’ve been proud of the leadership of the Bipartisan Heroin and Opioid Task Force as well as the entire New Hampshire Congressional Delegation in securing significant resources to tackle the opioid epidemic,” said Kuster, the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin and Opioid Task Force. “We’ve pushed for SAMHSA to prioritize opioid funding to the hardest hit states so that those on the frontlines of the crisis are able to access the resources they need. We must bolster prevention, treatment, long-term recovery, and law enforcement efforts, and I look forward to working with my colleagues across the aisle to continue to support families and communities in our state that have been impacted by this crisis.” 

Adhering to a request from the New Hampshire congressional delegation, SAMHSA agreed to change its funding formula and also limit the number of states eligible for the set-aside funds to a targeted list of states to ensure hardest-hit states like New Hampshire get their fair share of funding. Together, the funding increase in the government spending bill that was signed into law in March and these subsequent changes to allocate additional resources to states with exceptionally high overdose death rates, led to the substantial increase in resources for New Hampshire that was announced by Senators Shaheen and Hassan in June.

The total $45.8 million announced by SAMSHA includes the $22.9 million that Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped negotiate earlier this year, as well as the $22.9 million that’s included in Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations legislation that recently passed the Senate Appropriations Committee and will soon be considered by the full Senate. Senator Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, has led efforts in Congress to respond to the opioid crisis. 

Just last week, Senator Shaheen met with providers and patients at Coos County Family Health Services, which operates Moms in Recovery, a program that helps pregnant and parenting mothers living with substance use disorder. Moms in Recovery is a recipient of a $2.7 million SAMSHA grant which Kuster and Dartmouth Hitchcock officials announced in February.  

In the House, Congresswoman Shea-Porter blew the whistle on New Hampshire’s low share of funding under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Shea-Porter secured unanimous bipartisan support for her amendment to the Higher Education Act reauthorization bill that would require colleges and universities to adopt drug- and alcohol-abuse prevention programs that specifically address the opioid crisis.