Senator Collins Announces Appropriations Committee Approves $261 Million to Combat Opioid Abuse

The funding included in the Labor-HHS bill is $126 million more than FY 2016, a 93 percent increase

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today that the Committee has approved the fiscal year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill with $261 million for the Department of Health and Human Services’ opioid abuse initiatives, a 93 percent increase.  The legislation was approved by a vote of 29 to 1 and will now be considered by the full Senate.

“The heroin and opioid epidemic is a nationwide crisis devastating far too many families and communities. In 2015, there were a record 272 overdose deaths in Maine, the vast majority due to heroin or prescription opioids, and the problem is only getting worse,” said Senator Collins. “This bipartisan legislation recognizes the seriousness of this epidemic by providing $261 million for prevention and treatment programs, a 93 percent increase in funding.  The investments made in this bill will help to ensure that those who are grappling with addiction have access to the crucial lifesaving treatment they need.”

The $261 million in funding includes $105 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and $104 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The funding for the programs at SAMSHA and the CDC includes:

  • $60 million for medication-assisted treatment, a $10 million increase;
  • $26 million for Grants to Prevent Opioid Overdose Deaths, a $14 million increase;
  • $8.7 million for Opioid Treatment Programs;
  • $10 million for Strategic Prevention for Prescription Drugs;
  • $5.6 million for the CDC’s Heroin Abuse program
  • $98 million for the Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States program, a $28 million increase.

At Senator Collins request, the legislation also includes a provision encouraging SAMHSA to finalize regulations on prescribing buprenorphine to treat opioid dependence while supporting strategies to eliminate diversion of prescription opioids as quickly as possible. 

Senator Collins has strongly advocated for increasing education, treatment, and law enforcement supports to help prevent these harmful drugs from devastating our communities.  In April 2016, Senator Collins supported an appropriations bill that provided $132 million for Department of Justice programs to combat the heroin and opioid abuse crisis.  In addition, Senator Collins is a cosponsor of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which passed the Senate in March 2016.