House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders applaud opioid crisis response grants

Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee applauded the first round of grants being awarded to help states combat the opioid crisis through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

U.S. Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR), the chairman of the committee, Michael Burgess (R-TX), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, and Tim Murphy (R-PA), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, applauded the first round of $485 million in grants being administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within HHS.

“The opioid crisis has hit every community and knows no bounds,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. ”Combating the epidemic requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, and these critical dollars will play an important role in that effort. American families have been devastated by this epidemic, and we’re encouraged by the Trump administration’s renewed focus to tackle this crisis head-on.”

The grants, which were authorized under the 21st Century Cures Act, will be awarded to states to help prevent opioid abuse, and to support treatment for those already affected.

“It seems like everyone I meet is in some way impacted by this tragic opioid epidemic,” U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said. “These grants will directly help those in need here in Southwest Michigan and across the country.”

Michigan was awarded $16.3 million in the first round of grants.

“As part of our bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act we fought hard to include this funding to aid in this public health crisis,” Upton said. “Now, we’re delivering. To those in the midst of this fight: Help is on the way.”

U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), a member of the Subcommittee on Health, announced that New Jersey had been awarded a $13 million grant to combat the opioid crisis.

“The opioid crisis is devastating families and communities across the Garden State,” Lance said. “In 2015, New Jersey’s heroin death rate was two-and-one-half times the skyrocketing U.S. rate. This grant award will help expand access to treatment, recovery and prevention programs. It will also strengthen our state’s ability to combat this growing epidemic.”

Lance said he and his colleagues are supporting five key priorities with the funds: strengthening public health surveillance, improving pain management processes, improving access to treatment and recovery, targeting availability of overdose-reversing drugs, and supporting new research.