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Shaheen Applauds Coalition Effort to Educate American Youth on Opioids

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement in response to the White House’s release of the Stop Youth Opioid Abuse campaign, which combines the efforts of the Truth Initiative, the Ad Council, media companies and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic.

“I applaud the coalition of organizations, companies and the administration for these efforts to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic that has gripped our nation, and particularly, New Hampshire communities,” said Shaheen. “Educating young people about the horrifying implications of misusing opioid and synthetic opioid drugs is an important piece of the puzzle to combating this epidemic and saving lives. This program illustrates the importance of ONDCP and the need to adequately fund this office and hire experienced leadership to help coordinate the government’s response to this crisis. While I appreciate the administration’s attention to prevention programming, we still have yet to see this administration mobilize the promised federal response that can meet the challenge of this epidemic. Additional funding continues to be critically needed to support our first responders, healthcare providers, and those on the front lines of this emergency. I’ll keep pressing this administration to follow through on its promises to help end this epidemic, and will continue to work across the aisle to secure additional assistance that New Hampshire and other hardest-hit states deserve.”

On a conference call earlier today, the White House confirmed that the campaign will be funded through donated airtime and platform use by media companies including Facebook, Google, YouTube, Turner, Amazon, Vice and NBCUniversal. The investment in the campaign is expected to exceed $30 million. The ONDCP contributed approximately $400,000 to the ad campaign. 

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 that was recently signed into law, Senator Shaheen helped secure the $3.3 billion in additional resources. This funding will go towards a number of key programs through the Department of Health and Human Services 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 was instrumental in securing the $142 million set-aside in the government funding bill for opioid response efforts that will target hardest-hit states like New Hampshire.

Learn more about the Stop Youth Opioid Abuse campaign here.