Shea-Porter Urges Congressional Leadership to Include Opioid Crisis Emergency Funding in Next Government Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, DC— Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by the Congressional Heroin Task Force Co-Chairs, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Congressmen Tom MacArthur (NJ-03), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08), urging Congressional leadership to include additional funding to combat the opioid epidemic in the next government funding bill.
“President Trump and his administration are failing Granite State communities with their lack of urgency and attention to the deadly opioid epidemic,” said Shea-Porter. “This is no longer simply unacceptable, it is intolerable. Despite his national health emergency declaration, the President has not directed any additional funding to help Granite Staters who are fighting every day to turn the tide in this devastating crisis. Speaker Ryan must immediately heed our call to provide emergency funding to communities across the country that are in desperate need of federal help.”
At Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address, the President notably declined to ask for emergency resources to combat the opioid epidemic, signaling to Congress that he does not believe additional action is necessary to direct much-needed federal resources to communities struggling with the opioid epidemic.
Shea-Porter has been a leader in the fight to secure increased opioid funding for New Hampshire, co-introducing legislation to invest $45 billion in combating the epidemic and pressing the Trump administration to redress New Hampshire’s unfairly low allotment of less than 1% of nationwide Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) funding awards. Shea-Porter secured unanimous bipartisan support for her amendment to the Higher Education Act reauthorization bill that will require colleges and universities to adopt drug- and alcohol-abuse prevention programs that specifically address the opioid crisis.
The full text of the Task Force letter is available here and below:
Dear Speaker Ryan, Leader Pelosi, Chairman Frelinghuysen, and Ranking Member Lowey:
It is of vital importance that you provide additional funding in support of the President's public health emergency declaration as soon as possible. As we entered the New Year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their 2016 drug overdose mortality figures. The CDC reported over 42,000 opioid-related overdose deaths, an increase of 28% from 2015. Worse yet, the number of fatal fentanyl and synthetic opioid overdoses more than doubled to over 19,000. The opioid and heroin epidemic is no longer the worst drug crisis in American history; it is now one of the worst public health crises the nation has ever faced.
In October, the President took additional action to address the crisis by declaring a national public health emergency. His decision was encouraging because it meant granting the federal government additional flexibility to effectively address this crisis. It was the hope of our communities and constituents that such a declaration would bring with it additional resources required to quell this scourge.
On November 1, 2017, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released their report recommending new funding for the public health emergency declaration. Resources devoted to combating the opioid epidemic are largely contained within existing grant programs across the federal government. These programs are vital. But as the Commission noted, it is essential to dedicate funds to the public health emergency declaration, especially in light of the fact that the Public Health Emergency Fund is currently not adequately funded.
Despite the grim realities of the opioid crisis, Congress and the American people have worked together in a bipartisan manner to improve treatment and recovery services across the country. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act was landmark legislation that, for the first time, provided a coordinated, interagency effort to address the complexities of drug addiction. The 21st Century Cures Act devoted an unprecedented amount of resources to the crisis. And our communities have worked to improve state and local resources for their neighbors and loved ones. However, 175 Americans are dying each day – it is clear the nation needs additional resources to combat the epidemic.
We urge you to include additional funding in support of the President’s public health emergency declaration as part of ongoing negotiations to complete the fiscal year 2018 federal budget. Additionally, we request consideration of supplemental appropriations as part of any continuing resolution considered by Congress. It is vital that stakeholders working tirelessly to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic receive additional resources as soon as possible.
Thank you for your consideration on this issue of national importance. We remain committed to ensuring that this priority of both the Administration and Congress receives the necessary funding.