Click here for video of Senators Shaheen and Hassan’s remarks.
WASHINGTON – Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) led a press conference today with Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and individuals on the front lines of the substance misuse crisis to call for a significant increase in federal funding to combat the opioid crisis in a year-end funding bill.
The Senators were joined by Rick Werner, a Maryland father who lost his son to an overdose, and Dr. Rachel Levine, Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General of Pennsylvania.
“We are in the midst of another artificial crisis to keep the government open and are hearing a familiar refrain from Republican leadership that we must meet existing budget restrictions by defunding domestic priorities,” Senator Shaheen said. “That’s not acceptable. The days of shortchanging the response to the opioid crisis need to end. And we can start by providing additional funding for the opioid epidemic in this year’s end-of-year government funding bill.”
“Our states, and our region, and our country are in the midst of a devastating public health and safety challenge. This is an epidemic and a crisis that does not discriminate, it affects people in every community and from all walks of life, and it takes a massive toll on our workforce and our economy,” Senator Hassan said. “As we debate funding measures for next year, it is critical that first and foremost we act to prevent cuts to priorities like opioid funding that are scheduled to go into effect. These cuts would be devastating to the people and communities in the middle of this crisis. But what we really need to do is not just keep the cuts from happening, we need to significantly increase federal resources and investments in key programs that address the substance misuse crisis.”
Building on their efforts to combat the fentanyl, heroin, and opioid crisis, Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped introduced the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act to invest $45 billion for prevention, detection, surveillance and treatment of opioids. The Senators also introduced the bipartisan Targeted Opioid Formula Act to prioritize federal funding for states that have been hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, including New Hampshire.