Last week Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued a call for emergency funding to address the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic. Senator Shaheen’s proposal would provide supplemental appropriations totaling $600 million to programs at the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services and draw the funding as emergency spending meaning that it would not count against the spending caps just agreed to in the recent budget deal. New Hampshire is one of the states that have faced a very significant increase in the heroin/opioid use problem and it has been reflected in some of the recent comments of aspiring presidential candidates campaigning in that state’s primary.
States across the country are seeing the impact on child welfare with foster care numbers increasing in states like New Hampshire, Montana, Kansas. Other states are indicating it has been a factor along with the recent state budget cuts of the past half-decade also contributing to the increasing numbers.
In announcing the proposal Shaheen said, “The opioid crisis is spiraling out of control. This should be an all-hands-on-deck moment, not just for New Hampshire, but for our country. We are losing lives daily and our first responders, healthcare providers and criminal justice system are overwhelmed. To stem the tide, we urgently need additional funding for prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, and this legislation would provide resources to those on the frontlines.”
According to her office, from 2002 to 2013, opioid-related deaths have quadrupled nationally according to the latest data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In New Hampshire last year, there was a 76 percent increase in opioid-deaths. In most states, more people are now dying of fatal overdoses than vehicle-related deaths.
The proposal seeks:
Department of Justice
• Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program – $200 million increase to fund state and local initiatives on drug treatment and enforcement programs, law enforcement, and prevention and education programs.
• Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Anti-Heroin Task Force Grant – $25 million to assist state drug task forces deal with particularly high rates of heroin abuse.
Department of Health and Human Services
• Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant- $250 million in additional funds to distribute to states for programs related to prevention, treatment, recovery support and other services. For many states, including New Hampshire, this is the primary source of federal programs to address the misuse of alcohol and drugs.
• Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States- $50 million to support the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s work on prescription drug monitoring programs, community or insurer and health system interventions, and rapid response projects.
• National Institute on Drug Abuse- $35 million for targeted research on drug addiction and efforts to disseminate the results to improve prevention and treatment.
• Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success- $20 million to address underage drinking and prescription drug misuse and abuse among 12 to 25 year olds.
• Capacity Expansion for Medication Assisted Treatment for Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction – $10 million to help improve access in high risk communities to medication assisted treatment services for treating heroin and prescription opioids.
• Safe Schools/Healthy Students- $5 million to support school and community partnerships in efforts to create safe, drug-free and respectful environments for learning and to promote the behavioral health of children and youth.
• Recovery Community Services Program- $5 million to assist community organizations and develop organized statewide network for peer–to-peer recovery support including activities such as peer coaching, peer support groups, life skills workshops and peer-led housing and employment connector programs.
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