Technical assistance

Shaheen and Baldwin introduce legislation to give local communities tools to tackle the substance use disorder epidemic

September 13, 2022

(Washington, DC) – US Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act empowering local communities to better address the epidemic of opioid and substance use disorders. The legislation will enhance State Opioid Response (SOR) grants – an important tool for communities’ overall response to this public health crisis outbreak – by providing additional investments and flexibility to states and local communities.

“For years, the State Opioid Response Grant Program has been an essential tool for states like New Hampshire that are on the front lines of this crisis. This is precisely why I have worked to create flexibility within the program to adapt to the evolution of this epidemic over the years. And that’s why I’m proud to introduce this bill with Senator Baldwin to authorize the SOR Life-Saving Grant Program to continue to provide resources and flexibility to fight this scourge. said Senator Shaheen. “We cannot take our eyes off the substance abuse crisis, and I will continue to fight to ensure that New Hampshire receives its fair share of resources to prevent future generations from succumbing to addiction.”

“As the opioid and substance use disorder crisis continues to plague American families, I work to ensure that local and tribal communities have the resources and flexibility they need to support prevention, treatment and recovery efforts”, said Senator Baldwin. “Washington needs to step up and better manage the opioid and use disorder crisis, and this legislation helps strengthen the partnership with state and local communities and helps them respond effectively to this epidemic.”

“The SAMHSA State Opioid Response Grant Program has proven to be an essential tool in our nation’s ongoing fight against opioid and substance use disorders, providing critical support for prevention services, evidence-based treatment and recovery”, said American Psychiatric Association CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, MD, AMP. “By providing this essential program with increased funding and flexibility, the State’s Opioid Response Authorization Act would help to immediately reduce unmet treatment need across the country and, critically, reduce overdose-related deaths. The American Psychiatric Association enthusiastically supports this important legislation and urges Congress to consider it quickly.

More specifically, the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act would have:

  • Provide additional flexibility to states and tribes by authorizing funds to address stimulant abuse and use disorders, including for cocaine and methamphetamine;
  • Allocate five percent of funding to tribal communities, which have experienced the highest number and increase in overdose deaths;
  • Support states and tribes with additional guidance on how funding can be best used to increase access to recovery support services, including services to address housing needs, transportation needs, l food, job and family services insecurity;
  • Increase the minimum grant amount to $12 million and institute a “transition period” in the event that a state or tribe’s allocation is reduced by more than 10 percent;
  • Provide technical assistance to states and tribes to improve grant applications, as well as outreach and direct support to rural and underserved communities and providers; and
  • Authorize $2.7 billion per year for fiscal years 2023 to 2027.

The State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act is supported by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association.

The full text of the legislation is available here.

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen fought to provide resources to address the substance use disorder crisis in New Hampshire. The fiscal year 2022 funding legislation that was signed into law provided $1.5 billion in state Opioid Response (SOR) grant funding, as well as the continuation of a 15% reserve that Shaheen fought hard to get in 2018 for those hard hit. States like New Hampshire. Shaheen has also included a key provision from the 2019 version of its legislation – the turn the tide – giving treatment providers the ability to use State Opioid Response (SOR) grant funds to help patients with methamphetamine and cocaine addiction, in addition to opioid use disorder. Shaheen wrote the provision in response to discussions with New Hampshire treatment providers. Over the past four years, New Hampshire has received approximately $92 million in these grants to address the state’s opioid epidemic. In government funding legislation for fiscal year 2022, Shaheen secured $572.5 million to help communities and first responders respond to substance use crises, including opioid addiction and drug trafficking . This also includes $415 million for Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which support programs such as drug, mental health, and veterans treatment courts and substance use disorder treatment programs run by state and local correctional facilities. Last year, Senator Shaheen helped introduce the bipartisan party Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 3.0 Help address the opioid epidemic by increasing funding authority levels for these programs. Shaheen also secured funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Anti-Heroin Task Force and Anti-Methamphetamine Task Force programs.

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