(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement in response to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found in 2017 drug overdose deaths increased by approximately 10 percent nationally. The report also found that New Hampshire overdose death rates were at comparable levels to the previous year.
“I’m relieved New Hampshire’s drug overdose death rate did not significantly increase last year, which is a testament to the hard work of our first responders, treatment providers and community leaders,” said Shaheen. “However, these numbers still reflect a very tragic reality and make it clear that much more needs to be done at the federal level to help New Hampshire overcome this epidemic. Nearly 500 deaths a year is a staggering and unacceptable number, with each death representing a family member, friend or colleague taken far too soon. Too many Granite Staters are suffering from substance use disorders without the treatment they need, and our first responders on the frontlines continue to need additional resources to respond to this enormous crisis. While this report shows we are moving in the right direction, there is much more work ahead to overcome this scourge. I’ll continue to work across the aisle in Congress, and with our community members and leaders at every level to help end this epidemic.”
Senator Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the lead Democrat of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations 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 omnibus funding bill that was signed into law in March, Shaheen helped secure $3.3 billion in additional resources. This funding will help communities impacted by the opioid epidemic by supporting prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and law enforcement programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and other federal agencies. Senator Shaheen was instrumental in securing the $142 million set-aside in the government funding bill for opioid response efforts that will target hardest-hit states like New Hampshire. As a result of these efforts, New Hampshire received a more than seven-fold increase in annual grant award funding provided through the State Opioid Response Grant program.