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Shaheen Priorities Included in Senate Health Committee’s Bipartisan Legislation to Address Opioid Epidemic

(Washington, DC)—Yesterday, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Lead Democrat Patty Murray (D-WA) of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, released a discussion draft of the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, bipartisan legislation to address the opioid crisis. The draft contains critical priorities championed by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), including an expansion of a grant program through the 21st Century Cures Act to ensure states like New Hampshire have access to continued and additional funding opportunities. The bipartisan effort also includes Shaheen’s legislation that would provide grants to states to maintain, improve and expand their prescription drug monitoring programs. 

“I’m pleased that the Senate health committee recognizes these priorities and is moving forward in a bipartisan manner to help communities in New Hampshire and across the country combat the opioid epidemic,” said Shaheen. “Congress produced a bipartisan funding bill last month that was the product of good faith negotiations and will help to provide long-term certainty for key programs that our first responders, healthcare providers and recovery centers depend on. I believe we can build on that progress, and as this new bill moves forward, I’ll continue to reach across the aisle so we can deliver the federal assistance that is so urgently needed in New Hampshire and impacted communities across the nation.”

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 will improve the ability of the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to address the crisis, including the ripple effects of the crisis on children, families, and communities, and improve data sharing between states. This discussion draft is the result of months of hearings as well as input and language from Senators on both sides of the aisle.

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 secured 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 has also introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Hassan that would change how federal agencies determine State Targeted Response Opioid Crisis Grant funding to prioritize states with the highest mortality rates in the nation from opioid overdoses. 

Click here for the text of the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 discussion draft, and here for a summary.