**Senators Shaheen and Hassan Helped Negotiate the Bipartisan Budget Agreement, Which Was Supported by Rep. Kuster in the House, that Includes $6 Billion in Opioid Response Funding Over Two Years**
Washington, D.C.— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) in a New Hampshire Congressional Delegation letter to the President, urging him to prioritize funding for State Opioid Response (SOR) grants in his annual budget proposal to Congress. SOR grants were established in the 21st Century Cures Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2016.
In their letter, the Delegation wrote that SOR grant funding, “has provided vital support to efforts from health care providers, first responders and families in New Hampshire who are working every day to combat the opioid epidemic…New Hampshire remains one of the hardest-hit states in the nation, with approximately 450 drug overdose deaths estimated in the Granite State in 2018. To ensure that our communities have the necessary resources to meet the challenges of the opioid epidemic, we must continue to work together in a bipartisan manner, across Congress, your Administration and state governments.”
The Delegation also outlined the important work done by Congress through the bipartisan budget agreement, which Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped negotiate, and Representative Kuster supported in the House, that called for $6 billion in funding to respond to the opioid crisis in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The Delegation also emphasized the importance of the set-aside funding for states with the highest mortality rates, including New Hampshire. This critical additional funding, which Shaheen and Hassan also helped broker, had been included by Congress over the last two fiscal years. As a result of the Delegation’s efforts, New Hampshire received a more than seven-fold increase in annual grant award funding provided through the State Opioid Response Grant program.
Underscoring the importance of the SOR grant program in New Hampshire, particularly through the state’s new treatment delivery model, the Delegation continued, “By including ongoing funding for the SOR grants in your FY 2020 Budget proposal, you can help to support the ongoing bipartisan commitment to this program in Congress. The FY 2019 grant funding expires on September 30, 2019. Given the scale and scope of the opioid crisis, we need to work together to ensure that resources are available over the long term to meet the challenge.”
During a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing last week, Senator Shaheen questioned Dr. Daisy Pierce, Executive Director of Navigating Recovery of the Lakes region in Laconia, about New Hampshire’s new treatment delivery model. Dr. Pierce testified before the Senate at the invitation of Senator Shaheen. Dr. Pierce spoke about how additional federal funding has helped providers deliver lifesaving treatment, and when asked if there was any viable alternatives to this funding, replied “bake sales.”
The Delegation in their letter to President Trump concluded, “We appreciate your partnership in helping to address the devastating impact that the opioid crisis is having on our communities and urge you to retain this commitment by supporting funding for the SOR grant program in your upcoming budget proposal. In the months ahead, we look forward to continued collaboration on this critically important issue.”
The letter can be read in full here.