President Trump issued a public health emergency declaration to address the opioid crisis on Thursday and Senator Thad Cochran said this designation would give federal agencies added flexibility to reprogram existing funds.
“The opioid crisis is a public health and safety challenge that should not be underestimated,” said Cochran. “Over the past few years, the Appropriations Committee has approved significant new funding throughout the government to address this crisis, including money for opioid interdiction, prevention, and treatment programs.”
Under the leadership of Republican chairmen, funding to combat opioid abuse has more than quadrupled, while remaining within budget caps—increasing by $1.2 billion or 415 percent over the past three years.
“The Senate Appropriations Committee welcomes the opportunity to work with the President and his administration to make more progress on this problem, which has already ruined so many lives,” said Cochran.
This year, Cochran said the Senate committee has approved FY2018 funding totaling $1.45 billion for health, law enforcement, and veterans agencies to combat heroin and opioid addiction, overdoses and deaths—a significant contrast from the $289 million provided in fiscal year 2015.
Cochran indicated that the committee welcomes an opportunity to work with the administration to fund: research efforts into pain control and alternative treatments; new and comprehensive pain management training and education for prescribers; increased naloxone availability, particularly for veterans; and state and local law enforcement grants to help communities improve response to opioid-related cases.
Below is a summary of the funding over the past three years under the Senate Republican Chairmen to Combat Heroin and Opioid Abuse.
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations
From $57 million in FY2015 to $801 million in FY2017; $816 million in FY2018 Senate bill.
Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations
From $233 million in FY2015 to $277 million in FY2017; $288 million in FY2018 Senate bill.
VA Funding to Combat Heroin and Opioid Abuse
From $231 million in FY2015 to $368 million in FY2017; $386 million in FY2018 Senate bill.
TOTAL – Government Wide
From $289 million in FY2015 to $1.45 billion in FY2017; $1.49 billion in FY2018 Senate bill.
(All but FY2018 reflect enacted levels.)