I have to travel down to DC in a minute, so I don’t have time to editorialize about this. Just wanted to note it, because it’s important.
Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) are doubling down on their push to get Congress to pass an emergency spending bill to combat heroin and opioid abuse.
“People in Maine and around the country are losing their lives, communities are being torn apart and first responders and healthcare providers are being pushed to the brink,” King said during a press conference in Maine on Friday, adding that lawmakers “must act quickly and in a comprehensive way.”
Shaheen echoed his comments, saying, “Congress needs to treat the heroin epidemic like the national public health emergency that it is.”
The New Hampshire Democrat introduced legislation late last year that would provide $600 million in supplemental funding for programs within the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS).
Their bill would include $225 million for the DOJ to boost spending for state and local initiatives on drug treatment and law enforcement programs, as well as additional money to help drug task forces handle high rates of heroin abuse.
It would give $375 million to HHS including funding for substance abuse and prescription drug overdose prevention, research on drug addiction and programs targeting underage drinking and drug abuse among those aged 12 to 25.
Their press conference comes days after Shaheen sent a letter to Obama, calling on him to increase funding to address substance abuse as part of his fiscal year 2017 budget, which will be released next month.
King sent a similar letter to Obama last month.
I don’t know if you know people who are impacted by this or not. I suspect you do, even if aren’t yet aware of it.