WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today joined Senators Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and a group of Democratic Senators to introduce the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act which would invest $45 billion for prevention, detection, surveillance and treatment of opioids. Last year, nearly 2,000 New Jerseyans died at the hands of opioids.
“The opioid crisis is a national emergency and combatting it should not be a political issue,” said Senator Menendez. “By investing in substance abuse programs, research and requiring Medicaid and private insurance companies to cover treatment we can make real progress and save millions of families. No community in the country is immune to the opioid epidemic. And no amount of lip service from this Administration is going to fix it. That’s why Republicans need to join us so we can truly address this crisis head on.”
This Legislation Would:
- Authorize and appropriate $4,474,800,000 for substance abuse programs for the individual states for each of fiscal years 2018 through 2027.
- Build upon bipartisanship by adding this funding to the Account for the State Response to the Opioid Abuse Crisis, which was created by the 21st Century Cures Act. The 21st Century Cures Act passed the Senate with 94 votes.
- Expand the use of funding already allowed under 21st Century Cures, so that states may also use this money for detection, surveillance and treatment of co-occurring infections, as well as for surveillance, data collection and reporting on the number of opioid overdose deaths.
- Promote research on addiction and pain related to substance abuse, and authorizes and appropriates $50,400,000 for each of fiscal years 2018 through 2022. Under the bill, the National Institutes of Health would be responsible for distributing this money.
- Provide stable, long-term funding, a total of $45 billion over ten years to the states and over five years to research efforts. This is similar to the stable, long-term investment that Senate Republicans proposed as a response to the opioid emergency.
- Not replace coverage for treatment under Medicaid or the treatment requirements for private insurance in the Affordable Care Act. Both of these remain critical for combating the opioid abuse epidemic.
This Legislation Has Been Endorsed By:
- American Psychiatric Association
- American Society of Addiction Medicine
- Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose
- International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA)
- National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists
- National Association of County and City Health Officials
- National Association of Social Workers
- National Council for Behavioral Health
- National Health Care for the Homeless Council
- National Safety Council
- Treatment Communities of America
- Young People in Recovery
U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) are also co-sponsoring the legislation.