Budget deal includes $6 billion to fight opioid abuse
A bipartisan Senate budget deal includes $6 billion for opioid addiction and mental health, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
Advocates have been calling for more funding to combat the increasing deaths from opioid overdoses, which are now killing more Americans than car accidents.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Schumer announced the deal on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon.
“This agreement will also bolster our ongoing national struggle against opioid addiction and substance abuse,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “It will fund new grants, prevention programs and law enforcement efforts in vulnerable communities all across our country.”
In late October, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, a move the administration extended another 90 days in mid-January. The move didn’t free up millions of dollars, nor did it include a funding ask to Congress.
Many advocates and Democrats have criticized the measure as not having much of an impact to date, arguing more funding is needed.
New Hampshire Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan introduced a proposal in January to provide $25 billion to the opioid epidemic over two years.
Passed in 2016, the 21st Century Cures bill provided $1 billion over two years in state grants to fight the opioid epidemic.
The opioid crisis has hit both urban and rural communities across the country, and overdose deaths increased nearly 28 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to December data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.