Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Combat Opioid & Substance Abuse
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week spoke on the Senate floor to outline comprehensive efforts to combat the opioid and substance abuse epidemic that continues to impact communities across the country. The senator worked to include important provisions in the SUPPORT Act, which was signed into law last year, to help prevent illegal drugs, like fentanyl, from infiltrating communities. Additionally, Hoeven is working to advance important opioid abuse prevention and treatment funding.
“Our first responders, law enforcement officers, health care professionals and medical facilities are fighting this crisis on the front lines. That’s why we worked to advance a comprehensive approach that assists these key players and empowers states and localities to combat this public health emergency,” said Hoeven.
The SUPPORT Act
Hoeven outlined the SUPPORT Act, comprehensive legislation signed into law last year, to support prevention, treatment, recovery and law enforcement efforts. Hoeven worked to secure important provisions in the legislation, including:
- Language that aligns with the goals of Hoeven’s Illegal Synthetic Drug Safety Act, which closes a loophole that enables bad actors to circumvent the law to sell and distribute illicit synthetic variations of drugs, like the powerful drug fentanyl, by labeling the products as “not for human consumption.”
- The Synthetic Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act to require shipments from foreign countries sent through the U.S. Postal Service to provide electronic data. This will empower Customs and Border Protection to better target potential illegal substances like fentanyl and prevent it from being shipped into the country.
Opioid Overdose Reversal Drugs on Airplanes
Hoeven highlighted his efforts with Senator Jeanne Shaheen this week to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to provide important life-saving medications, like naloxone, to counter opioid overdose in the emergency kits on airplanes. The senators outlined the need in a letter to the FAA Administrator. Click here to view the letter.
Opioid Abuse Prevention Funding
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven also outlined the importance of passing full-year funding bills, including for opioid abuse prevention, treatment and recovery initiatives through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Senate’s Labor-HHS funding bill provides $3.9 billion for these efforts, including:
- $800 million for the National Institutes of Health to develop pain management alternatives to opioids, as well as study opioid addiction, and
- $200 million to support the Community Health Centers, enabling them to expand prevention and treatment services, and provide access to opioid overdose reversal drugs.
“We worked hard to pass the SUPPORT Act to provide our health care providers, first responders and law enforcement with tools to prevent drug abuse, treat those suffering from addiction and assist those in recovery. While progress has been made, we need to continue working together to advance full-year funding bills to keep moving the ball forward in the fight against opioid abuse. We can combat the epidemic, stem its tide and save lives,” the senator concluded.
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