Shaheen Leads Call for Trump Administration to Support Additional Funding to Combat Opioid Epidemic

November 03, 2017

(Washington, DC) – Today, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led a letter to President Donald Trump with Senators Angus King (I-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and a group of 19 senators, calling on the President to support additional funding necessary to combat the opioid epidemic. Earlier this week, Senator Shaheen urged the Trump Administration to act on the recommendations of the final report issued by the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction, and to work with Congress to expeditiously provide critical aid to New Hampshire and other communities affected by the opioid crisis.

“We appreciate your formal declaration that the opioid epidemic is a National Public Health Emergency.  While this is a positive step forward, more action must be taken in order to craft a timely and effective national strategy that will achieve long term solutions to this crisis. Specifically, we are concerned that your declaration does not yet include any additional funding resources for key programs and initiatives that will help our patients, providers, first responders and researchers who desperately need more assistance,” wrote the senators.

The senators continued, “Researchers, providers, patients, first responders, experts and policy makers agree that investing sufficient and timely resources are of paramount importance in order to allow our communities to effectively combat this epidemic. The President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis agrees. The final Commission report released this week recommends that your Administration increase access to treatment and recovery programs, as well as expand the capacity for medication-assisted treatment and first responder access to overdose reversal drugs.  As such, we encourage your Administration to work closely with Congress to swiftly provide the necessary additional and sustained funding to carry out a multi-faceted approach that supports activities related to research, education, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.”

Although New Hampshire has the second highest opioid overdose death rate in the nation, on Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will not prioritize states like New Hampshire for necessary federal grants to help combat the public health crisis.

Senator Shaheen is the lead Democrat on the Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee. Senator Shaheen has been a leader in Congress on combating the opioid crisis, and was instrumental in efforts to obtain emergency funding through the 21st Century Cures Act that was signed into law by President Obama last year. Earlier this year, she helped secure over $700 million in additional opioid treatment resources. Last week, Senator Shaheen helped unveil legislation that would provide $45 billion to respond to the opioid crisis, which is the largest response bill to combat the epidemic to date.

The letter to President Trump can be read here.