Senators Collins, Klobuchar Introduce Bill to Authorize $50 Million Over Five Years for Community Organizations Responding to Opioid Addiction

Funding awards would range from $50,000 to $1 million to support community organizations’ programs to increase access to substance abuse treatment

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced The Community Action Opioid Response Act of 2018 to help address one aspect of the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic that is harming communities and families across the country.  This bipartisan legislation would establish a new, competitive grant program to help Community Action Agencies (CAAs) and Community Action Partnerships (CAPs) to grow and support effective community efforts to identify and respond to the causes and consequences of opioid misuse and addiction.  A companion bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Lloyd Smucker (R-PA).


“CAAs and CAPs are uniquely positioned to help take on the opioid crisis.  They can leverage their existing programs, community relationships, and existing infrastructures to respond to the unmet needs resulting from the opioid crisis, but they need more help,” said Senator Collins.  “Our bipartisan bill would give these agencies additional resources to develop the wrap-around services that make it possible for treatment to succeed.”


“In Minnesota and across the country, no place has been immune from the devastating effects of opioid abuse. We must explore every available path to ending this epidemic, and we can start by investing in our communities,” said Senator Klobuchar.  “The Community Action Opioid Response Act will provide crucial critical funding for prevention and expanding access to treatment and support services for low-income families impacted by addiction.”


"The opioid epidemic is America's crisis. It affects nearly all of our communities. We applaud the leadership of Senators Collins and Klobuchar, as well as Representatives McCollum and Smucker,” said David Bradley, CEO National Community Action Foundation.  “These members recognize that the nation's Community Action network can assist in helping individuals, families and communities cope and successfully conquer one of the most threatening crises America faces in the 21st century."


CAAs and CAPs are a nationwide network of more than 1,000 anti-poverty organizations that create, coordinate, and deliver services to individuals and families in need to help them achieve self-sufficiency.


The Community Action Opioid Response Grant would support a wide range of activities, including:

  • Public education and community awareness;
  • Outreach and referral to appropriate treatment, recovery, and other resources;
  • Direct services to prevent, treat, or recover from opioid addiction;
  • Services to stabilize education, employment, housing, transportation, and other needs of individuals and families;
  • Services to address the impact of opioid addiction on children;
  • Support for children and their caregivers, including grandparents and other relative caregivers, who are in foster care or at-risk of foster care placement;
  • Development of innovative community-based services using a two-generation approach that responds to the needs of parents and children together who are experiencing opioid misuse or addiction;
  • Development of a broad array of diverse community partnerships to coordinate and expand resources to individuals and their families; and
  • Training for CAA and CAP personnel in opioid addiction issues, including early identification of at-risk individuals and the administration of overdose prevention drugs.


Grants would be awarded for up to three years, and the Secretary would be required to take into consideration the relative proportion of awards among rural and urban areas.  The bill would authorize $50,000,000 over five years.  Each grant award would be no less than $50,000 and no more than $1,000,000.


The Community Action Opioid Response Act of 2018 is one of three bipartisan bills Senator Collins introduced this week to help reverse the heroin and opioid abuse crisis that is fueling an explosive increase in overdose deaths.


A one-pager on the bill can be found HERE.


The text of the bill can be found HERE.