Funding bill includes $37 million for opioid crisis

Funding bill includes $37 million for opioid crisis

The short-term funding bill that Senate Republicans released Thursday includes $37 million in new funding to fight the crisis of opioid addiction. 

Republicans said that the new money would give a head start to setting up programs in the recently passed Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), preventing the need to wait until the longer-term spending bill is considered in December. 

Democrats have pushed for a much higher amount of funding, $1.1 billion over a full year, saying that robust resources are what is actually needed to make sure people have access to treatment. 

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanFlake's anti-Trump speech will make a lot of noise, but not much sense Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race Overnight Tech: Regulators to look at trading in bitcoin futures | Computer chip flaws present new security problem | Zuckerberg vows to improve Facebook in 2018 MORE (R-Ohio), who has been pushing for action on the opioid crisis and has made the issue a central part of his reelection bid this year, praised the inclusion of the $37 million in the continuing resolution. 

“I’m pleased that the CR includes new opioid resources that put us on a path to fully funding CARA, and is a down payment toward helping get these CARA grant programs up and running in the short term,” Portman said in a statement.

He added that he is still “committed to securing additional opioid funding in the months and years ahead.”

Daniel Raymond, policy director of the advocacy group Harm Reduction Coalition, expressed relief that the funding was included in the stopgap bill.

“The new opioid funding will help agencies jumpstart the process of getting grants out to states sooner, instead of holding off until a final spending agreement,” Raymond said. “This is good news, but still falls short of the level of funding needed to really close the treatment gap.”