Shaheen and Hassan Hold Press Conference to Call for $25 Billion Investment in Budget Agreement to Combat the Opioid Crisis

January 9, 2018

**The $25 billion proposal over two years would be invested in SAMHSA, CDC, FDA, NIH, HRSA, Medicare and Medicaid**

**CDC recently confirmed that the opioid crisis has spread so fiercely that it has reversed the national trend towards longer life expectancy for two years in a row--the first time this has happened since the early 1960’s**

Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) held a press conference to announce a Democratic proposal for $25 billion in additional funding to combat the opioid crisis to be included in the budget agreement that is currently being negotiated in Congress. Shaheen and Hassan are calling for this $25 billion investment over two years to go towards programs that support opioid treatment in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Medicare and Medicaid.

“As people are dying day after day in New Hampshire and across the country, this administration continues to pay lip service to the opioid crisis,” said Senator Shaheen. “We need action not more empty promises. At this point, everyone in New Hampshire has a story to share about a family member, a friend, a coworker, or neighbor that was taken far too soon. We need a federal response that matches the national public health emergency we are facing. This is an opportunity to show New Hampshire and the nation that Republicans and Democrats can work across the aisle to provide communities the resources they need to turn the tide of this crisis.”

“The opioid crisis is the greatest public health crisis facing our nation; we cannot afford inaction,” Senator Hassan said. “In New Hampshire, families and communities are hoping and calling for a budget agreement to include a significant increase in funding to address the opioid epidemic. We are fighting for a budget agreement that includes $25 billion in additional funding to combat this crisis, which would support treatment, recovery, prevention, and law enforcement efforts. It will take a far greater federal investment to help support those on the front lines and turn the tide, but providing an additional $25 billion now is an important step that we must take.”

Senator Shaheen and Hassan’s proposal would help bridge the funding difference between the Republican-proposed defense and domestic budgets. The senators stressed the importance of not short-changing domestic needs, particularly the response to the opioid epidemic. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently confirmed that the opioid crisis has spread so fiercely that it has reversed the positive trend towards longer life expectancy for two years in a row--the first time this has happened since the early 1960’s.

Last month, Senator Shaheen, the lead Democrat on the Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee, and Senator Hassan sent a bipartisan letter to Senate Leadership, asking that resources for tackling the opioid epidemic be included in the upcoming supplemental and omnibus appropriations legislation. Senators Shaheen and Hassan have also introduced bipartisan legislation that would prioritize federal funding for states that have been hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, including New Hampshire. According to a new CDC release of state-by-state drug overdose data, New Hampshire ranks third for overdose mortality rate in the nation. According to the report, 39 Granite Staters for every 100,000 die from a drug overdose and New Hampshire’s mortality rate is nearly double the national average, which is 19 deaths for every 100,000 people.