Shaheen Ushers Through Key NH Priorities in Senate-Passed Bill to Combat Opioid Crisis

September 17, 2018

**Shaheen’s Priorities to Direct Funding to Hardest Hit States, Extend Drug Monitoring Program, and Support Peer Support Networks, Pass with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) released the following statement after the Senate passed the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, legislation addressing the fentanyl, heroin, and opioid epidemic with overwhelming bipartisan support. The legislation includes Shaheen priorities to assist New Hampshire, including enabling the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prioritize funding for states like New Hampshire that are hardest hit and extending authorization of the prescription drug monitoring program. The bill also includes provisions from legislation Senator Shaheen introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to establish a National Peer-Run Training and Technical Assistance Center for Addiction Recovery Support and provide peer support networks with the resources and training they need to help combat the opioid crisis.

“Turning the tide of this crisis requires a multifaceted approach that focuses on prevention and treatment for those struggling with substance use disorder, community support networks for families who have been impacted by the epidemic, drug monitoring programs to decrease misuse of prescription opioids and federal assistance for interdiction efforts to stop the trafficking of illegal substances from entering our communities. These measures are critical for New Hampshire families, health care providers and first responders, and I am very pleased to see that today’s legislation includes these priorities,” said Shaheen. “I appreciate the good-faith, bipartisan negotiations that paved the way for this bill and I will continue to work across the aisle to guide this legislation through Congress and to the President’s desk.”

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), as well as the Departments of Justice and Transportation, to address the opioid crisis, including the ripple effects of the epidemic on children, families, and communities, and to improve data sharing between states. The legislation is the result of months of hearings as well as input and language from Senators on both sides of the aisle.

Additional New Hampshire priorities that Senator Shaheen fought to include in this legislation:

  • Family-Focused Treatment and Foster Care—this legislation authorizes a $20 million grant program for HHS to support states in the development of family-focused treatment programs for instances where a child enters foster care as a result of parental substance misuse.
  • Substance Abuse Prevention—this legislation reauthorizes a number of critical prevention programs including the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Drug-Free Communities Program, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program, the Department of Justice Drug Court Program, the COPS Anti-Meth Program and the COPS Anti-Heroin Program. It would also require HHS to disseminate best practices on keeping families affected by substance misuse together and authorizes a grant program to protect children with parents struggling from substance use disorder. 
  • Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances—this legislation closes a legal loophole that has made it difficult for law enforcement to prosecute traffickers of controlled substance analogues like fentanyl.
  • Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention—this legislation requires shipments from foreign countries that use our postal system to provide electronic advance data before they cross our borders and enter the United States, so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can better target potential illegal packages and stop synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanyl from being shipped through U.S. borders to drug traffickers in the United States.

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 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 recently received a more than seven-fold increase in annual grant award funding provided through the State Opioid Response Grant program.