Shaheen Calls on President Obama to Increase Funding to Address Heroin Epidemic in FY2017 Budget Request
**Shaheen calls heroin epidemic “a public health emergency” and cites overwhelmed treatment programs in New Hampshire**
**President Obama is expected to send his budget to Congress on February 9th**
(Washington, DC) – As the Obama Administration prepares to send Congress its FY2017 Budget, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called on the President today to increase his request for funding to address the heroin epidemic. Senator Shaheen’s call comes as overdose deaths continue to surge in New Hampshire and across the country. Her letter cites the 74 percent increase in substance misuse related deaths between 2013 and 2014 in New Hampshire and the enormous strain that this epidemic has put on first responders and treatment providers.
“On good days, our first responders and treatment providers are barely able to keep up,” said Shaheen. “On the bad days, they’re totally overwhelmed. This is completely unsustainable. The federal government needs to do much more to stem the tide of this crisis and the President’s budget should reflect this urgency.”
Senator Shaheen’s letter reads in part, “Substance abuse, particularly related to heroin and prescription opioid drugs, has reached unprecedented levels. Additional resources are needed to tackle this epidemic, and as you finalize your fiscal year 2017 budget request, I urge you to include robust support for substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery … We must treat this issue like the public health emergency it is, and marshal all necessary resources to communities on the front lines.”
Senator Shaheen has also introduced emergency funding legislation that would provide $600 million to address the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic. Senator Shaheen called recent funding increases in the FY2016 omnibus “significant progress” but said much more needs to be done.
On Friday, Senator Shaheen was in Berlin, NH where she hosted a roundtable with local law enforcement, first responders, community leaders and treatment providers to hear about the impact the addiction problem is having on their community and how the federal government can assist in addressing the problem.
The full text of Senator Shaheen’s letter to President Obama is included below and is available here.
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
As you know, New Hampshire, like so many states across the country, is facing a public health crisis. Substance abuse, particularly related to heroin and prescription opioid drugs, has reached unprecedented levels. Additional resources are needed to tackle this epidemic, and as you finalize your fiscal year 2017 budget request, I urge you to request an increase in support for substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced that opioid overdose deaths increased fourteen percent in 2014 alone, resulting in the death of 47,000 people. The CDC data also shows that deaths from heroin have tripled since 2010, and that deaths involving fentanyl are also increasing rapidly. In addition, the CDC found that 44 Americans overdose every single day, and drug-related deaths now exceed automobile crashes as the number one cause of accidental death in the United States.
Last year New Hampshire lost more than 400 people to drug abuse, more than any other year. Between 2013 and 2014, our state saw a 74 percent increase from 2013. Furthermore, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services reported that in the last decade the number of people admitted to state treatment programs increased 90 percent for heroin use and 500 percent for prescription drug use. We also know that many families are being turned away from potential life-saving treatment due to a lack of resources. We must do more to help.
Substance abuse impacts all facets of our communities, from social service networks, to schools, businesses and health care providers. The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that the economy loses as much as $200 billion each year as a result of drug abuse. Lost productivity due to treatment, incarceration, health care costs, and criminal justice costs only compounds the fiscal problems communities are facing as they attempt to meet this incredible challenge.
As I travel across New Hampshire talking to those on the front lines of the crisis, I hear over and over again about the lack of resources to develop and implement a well-coordinated response to the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic. We must treat this issue like the public health emergency it is and marshal all necessary resources to communities on the front lines. I urge you to commit additional federal resources in your budget to the substance abuse crisis.
United States Senator