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Shaheen Applauds Senate Passage of 21st Century Cures Act, $1 Billion in Funding to Fight Opioid Epidemic Now Heads to President Obama’s Desk

**Shaheen calls funding “a major milestone” and says “help is on the way”**

 **Shaheen led efforts to include $1 billion to combat opioid crisis as part of her continuing fight in Congress to secure funding for states**

(Washington, DC) – The Senate passed bipartisan legislation that includes $1 billion to combat the opioid epidemic nationwide and the bill will now be sent to President Obama for his signature. U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke on the Senate floor yesterday to draw attention to the critical opioid funding for opioid prevention, treatment and recovery included in the 21st Century Cures Act, which focuses on discovery, development and delivery of new medical cures. Of the $1 billion, $500 million would be available this year and the remaining $500 million would be disbursed next year. Shaheen was instrumental in securing funding as part of the legislation and has led the charge in Congress since November 2015 to respond to the opioid crisis. Shaheen advocated for funding to assist states hit hardest by the opioid crisis, including New Hampshire, and the legislation passed today directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to prioritize states that have experienced the worst crises as a result of the epidemic. Also included in the Cures legislation is money for new and existing programs at the National Institutes of Health and important reforms to the mental healthcare system. The House of Representatives passed the bill last week with broad, bipartisan support.

“This is a major milestone and a long overdue initial investment to combat the opioid epidemic that is devastating families and communities in New Hampshire and across the country,” said Senator Shaheen. “This time last year, I introduced legislation that would immediately provide emergency funds to law enforcement and providers on the frontlines focused on treatment and recovery; finally, Congress is taking a major step forward. I am relieved this bill ensures that funding will be directed to areas of the country hit hardest by the opioid epidemic, including the Granite State, and I look forward to seeing President Obama sign this bill into law. Those on the frontlines have waited long enough for the resources needed to combat the opioid epidemic. Today, I am pleased to say that help is on the way.”

Yesterday on the Senate floor, Shaheen called for continued bipartisan action in the next Congress and with President-elect Trump to address the opioid epidemic in a comprehensive manner. Shaheen said, “As Surgeon General Murthy says: ‘How we respond to this crisis is a test for America.’ With so many lives at stake, this is a test we must not fail.”

In November, Shaheen sent a letter to Senate leadership calling for funding to be included in the 21st Century Cures Act, citing bipartisan support for her immediate funding legislation and a lack of funding for the recently enacted Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The letter, also signed by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN), states: 

“Our law enforcement, health care system, families, and states simply cannot tackle the problem alone and without necessary resources. As the end of the year fast approaches, it is past time for Republicans and Democrats to come together to provide emergency funding and increase investments in prevention and treatment services for opioid use, misuse, and use disorders. Until we do, our job is not done and our communities will continue to hurt. We urge you to act immediately to ensure that Congress fulfills its commitment to the American people by providing adequate resources to help quell this epidemic in the 21st Century Cures Act. We stand ready and look forward to working with you to swiftly achieve this goal.”

In November 2015, Senator Shaheen introduced emergency funding legislation would provide immediate supplemental appropriations totaling $600 million to states through programs administered by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services that focus on treatment and recovery, as well as state and local law enforcement initiatives. Shaheen was a co-sponsor of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and has repeatedly called on the Republican-led Congress to fund CARA.