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Senator Collins Announces More Than $1 Billion to Combat the Heroin and Opioid Abuse Epidemic

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that the bipartisan funding bill that was signed into law today contains significant funding for which she advocated to combat the heroin and opioid abuse crisis.

The legislation provides more than $1 billion to respond to the drug epidemic, including $801 million—a 430 percent increase—for the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) initiatives to combat opioid abuse, $276.5 million for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) enforcement and treatment programs, and $50 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.

“The heroin and opioid abuse epidemic is continuing to devastate families and communities in Maine, which tragically experienced another record number of overdose deaths last year,” said Senator Collins. “I am proud to have championed this increase in funding that will help break the cycle of addiction by boosting prevention efforts, expanding treatment options, and supporting law enforcement.”

This new funding to combat the heroin and opioid abuse crisis was authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act, which both became law last year. Each bill included multiple provisions authored by Senator Collins, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The $801 million in funding for HHS includes:

  • $623 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s opioid abuse and response programs.
  • $126 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for prescription drug overdose and heroin abuse programs.
  • $50 million for Community Health Centers. This is in addition to $94 million in mandatory funds awards for Substance Abuse Grants.
  • $3 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to support a 3-year initiative to help rural health care providers deliver medication-assisted treatment.

The $276.5 million in funding for the DOJ includes:

  • $116 million for the Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program, plus $1 million for a voluntary pilot program using medication assistance treatment.
  • $103 million for the recently authorized CARA DOJ grant program.
  • $34 million for the DOJ’s Second Chance Act grant program to help recently released prisoners reintergrate into society.
  • $12.5 million requested for four new heroin enforcement teams at the Drug Enforcement Administration.
  • $10 million for the DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services’ anti-heroin task forces grants.
  • $1 million for a voluntary pilot BOP program that uses medication assistance treatment to help inmates.

The $50 million for the VA will fund opioid and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for veterans and allow the VA to further implement the Jason Simcakoski Memorial and Promise Act.

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