Washington (AP) – The U.S. Senate is set to pass a $1.5 billion package of opioids relief, including money for states and tribes to help contain the opioid epidemic.
The bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is the result of a bipartisan agreement reached in February that included funding for the states, the U.N. and tribes.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., the bill’s sponsor, says the bipartisan agreement includes $1 billion for states to address opioid overdose and heroin use.
It would be used for a series of steps, including providing more funding for drug treatment programs, reducing barriers to access to treatment and increasing access to mental health services.
Gillibrand says the package is a major step toward ending the opioid crisis, but the bipartisan deal does not include money to address addiction and addiction-related deaths.
She says it’s important for the nation to see that the opioid overdose epidemic is a national health emergency, and the legislation also funds states to increase funding for substance abuse treatment programs.GILLIBRAND: But it’s also important to remember that there is no doubt that we have a problem with overdose deaths and that we need to do everything we can to reduce those deaths and increase those recoveries.
But we also have to recognize that it’s not just an issue for those who are addicted to drugs, it’s an issue that affects our nation’s future health and safety.AP: This is the fifth installment of a weekly series on the opioid addiction crisis.