Foster, Esty, Clark Lead 102 House Democrats in Calling for Increased Federal Funding to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Washington, D.C. – In a letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), and 99 of their Democratic House Colleagues this week requested stronger federal funding to combat the opioid addiction epidemic in Fiscal Year 2017.
The letter calls for enacting the President’s full budget request for opioid addiction and prevention. That request includes $12 million in grants to states to prevent opioid-overdose related deaths, $50 million for medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, and $1.8 billion in Substance Abuse Block Grants to states.
“For too long we have treated substance abuse as a moral failing. This has led to a stigmatization of those struggling with addiction that has only served to drive this problem deeper into the shadows,” the representatives wrote.
“Many of our communities have been hit hard by opioid addiction and, as we struggle to prevent and treat abuse of prescription opioids and heroin, we need to make sure appropriate attention and resources are given to fighting this epidemic. The President’s budget request will allow states to expand prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities.”
Addiction to prescription opioids and heroin has risen dramatically throughout the country and has severely impacted communities in Illinois, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. In 2014 alone, more than 29,000 Americans died after overdosing on opioids.