Bipartisan Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent letters to 16 states today asking how the states are using federal funds to assist treatment and recovery efforts in response to the opioid crisis. The letters were signed by full Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), full Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-KY).
The Committee has taken numerous actions to respond to the national opioid crisis, including passage of several key legislative packages to help states address the epidemic, and Committee leaders want to better understand how states are using these federal funds.
“States are on the front lines of this battle,” the bipartisan Committee leaders wrote. “The continued magnitude of overdose deaths indicates that there is more work to be done, and continued federal, state, and local coordination and support is needed to combat this daunting crisis.”
Specifically, the bipartisan lawmakers pointed to three key laws that came out of the Committee (the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act), the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016 and the 21st Century Cures Act), which all authorized funding to address substance use disorder treatment, recovery, and prevention. They also pointed to the final funding bills for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 that included a total of $2.5 billion to states to address the opioid crisis.
“Taken together, these efforts were designed to help states address the opioid crisis by providing billions in additional funding to struggling communities,” the Committee leaders continued. “The Committee is examining how these funds are being used by states to aid opioid use disorder treatment, recovery, and prevention efforts. Specifically, the Committee is interested in understanding what monies are reaching these states, how they are being deployed and prioritized, how such funds are being used to assist those suffering from substance use disorders, and what efforts are proving to be successful.”
As part of their inquiry, the Committee leaders are seeking answers to a series of questions, from the states, including:
- How much federal funding for opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery has each state received since 2016?
- What challenges, if any, exist in deploying federal funds to local communities in an expedited manner?
- How do states determine which local government entities receive federal grant funding.
- Do federally appropriated funds to address the opioid crisis provide states with the flexibility to focus on the hardest hit regions or localities?
- What additional resources would be most helpful?
The letters were sent to the Governors of Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
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