U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly is calling for the Senate to pass necessary, emergency funding to address the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics before the end of the year. Donnelly and Senators Tammy Baldwin, Jeanne Shaheen, and Edward J. Markey sent a letter to Senate leadership late Tuesday, pushing for passage of funding through the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act that is expected to be considered for passage in the coming weeks. Donnelly helped the Senate pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which became law in July, to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics. While CARA is an important step, Donnelly repeatedly has said it’s necessary to fund programs and initiatives to address this public health crisis — and to date, Congress has not provided sufficient funding to implement this new law.
Donnelly and the Senators said, in part, “Substance use, misuse, and use disorders are national problems that continue to cripple our communities. Our law enforcement, health care system, families, and states simply cannot tackle the problem alone and without necessary resources. As the end of the year fast approaches, it is past time for Republicans and Democrats to come together to provide emergency funding and increase investments in prevention and treatment services for opioid use, misuse, and use disorders…We urge you to act immediately to ensure that Congress fulfills its commitment to the American people by providing adequate resources to help quell this epidemic.”
Several of Donnelly’s bipartisan provisions became law in 2016 as part of CARA. His provisions were adopted from his bipartisan legislation to update best prescribing practices for pain management and raise public awareness, as well as a bipartisan provision he authored that encourages first responder units to connect individuals who receive naloxone with treatment and other necessary services. CARA also includes tools to prevent drug addiction and expands access to treatment and support for individuals in recovery.
In September, Donnelly helped the Senate pass short-term legislation to keep the government running, and it included $37 million in new funding to begin implementation of CARA. These funds are helping jumpstart four grant programs in CARA focused on prevention, treatment, and recovery. As the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics continues to devastate communities in Indiana and across our country, Donnelly has continued to advocate for additional funding to confront this public health emergency.
To read Donnelly and his colleague’s letter, click here or see below.