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Senator Shaheen Joins Luján, Cornyn, Kaine, Durbin to Introduce Legislation to Boost Substance Use Recovery Resources and Services

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) along with U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), to introduce the Strengthening Communities of Recovery Act, which would reauthorize and expand resources for individuals experiencing substance use disorder. As the United States faces a severe behavioral health crisis, exacerbated by an epidemic of substance use disorders (SUD), individuals in recovery are often struggling to reintegrate into society due to stigma, lack of support, and limited access to resources that address their complex needs.

“The substance use disorder crisis continues to plague communities across the country, and far too often, those impacted lack access to comprehensive recovery services,” said Senator Shaheen, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. “Just last year, overdose deaths increased 11 percent in New Hampshire. We can’t allow this to continue, which is why I’m proud to support the Strengthening Communities of Recovery Act that would provide vital funding for recovery support programs, including several in the Granite State.”

“The road to recovery after battling a substance use disorder is challenging. From integrating back into society, to navigating limited resources available, and overcoming the stigma attached – people do recover and we have to make it easier,” said Senator Luján. “The Strengthening Communities of Recovery Act addresses these challenges by providing funding to expand recovery resources for individuals experiencing substance use disorder. This funding will help local organizations develop more robust support systems that include advocacy, education, job assistance, and family outreach, ensuring our communities have accessible pathways to recovery.”

SUD represents a significant public health challenge in the United States. In 2021, over 37.3 million Americans aged 12 and older were currently using illicit drugs, with 59.2 million or 21.4% having used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year. Despite the high prevalence of substance use, the availability of recovery services is not keeping pace. Of the more than 46 million Americans with a substance use disorder in 2021, which represents 16.5% of the population, only 6% received treatment. For those individuals who battled their SUD, and worked hard to reach the other side, access to recovery services is tragically limited.

To assist recovery and help reintegrate into society, the Strengthening Communities of Recovery Act reauthorizes this grant program for five years and increases funding from $5 million a year to $16 million a year to address the need for recovery services. The grant program allows organizations to develop and enhance peer recovery and general recovery support, while also fostering collaboration with other harm reduction entities. The funding will also enable these organizations to offer a number of services, including advocacy, education, employment assistance, and outreach to families and communities.

Full text of the bill is available HERE. One pager is available HERE.

Senator Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to address the substance use disorder epidemic and support recovery services. Her bipartisan FENTANYL Results Act, signed into law as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), increases global cooperation in the fight against synthetic drug trafficking. Shaheen and Senator Marshall lead the Cooper Davis Act, which is a bipartisan bill to hold social media companies accountable for reporting to law enforcement all illicit fentanyl activity occurring on their platforms. In the FY 2023 government funding legislation, Shaheen secured $608 million in federal grants to help communities and first responders across the nation to respond to the substance misuse crisis. Shaheen also included in the FY 2023 government funding bill language to authorize increased funding for the State Opioid Response grant program, which gives local communities resources to better combat the opioid and substance use disorder epidemic. In August, Shaheen visited Hope on Haven Hill’s Center for Hope and Wellness and Abi’s Place in Rochester to discuss their work to combat the substance use disorder crisis in New Hampshire by providing supportive housing and resources for women on their road to recovery.  In September, Shaheen delivered remarks at the White House’s National Recovery Month Summit.