Shaheen on 21st Century Cures Act Being Signed Into Law: "Help is on the Way for Those on the Frontlines of the Opioid Epidemic"
**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) – Today, President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law which includes $1 billion to combat the opioid epidemic nationwide. 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 provide resources for the opioid crisis. Shaheen advocated for funding to assist states hit hardest by the opioid crisis, including New Hampshire, and the legislation signed into law today directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) 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.
“Help is on the way for those on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic,” said Shaheen. “This new law is a major milestone and a long overdue initial investment in the effort combat the opioid epidemic that is devastating families and communities in New Hampshire and across the country. 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, a law will now be enacted that provides additional federal resources. Now the job at hand is to get this money out quickly and to where it’s needed most, and I look forward to working with the current and incoming secretaries of HHS to make sure this happens.”
According to the New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner, at least 369 people have fatally overdosed in New Hampshire this year. Fentanyl played a role in nearly three-quarters of those deaths. State officials project that at least 476 deaths will be attributed to drug overdoses in the year 2016, another substantial increase over the previous year.
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.