Alexander: Bill Headed to President’s Desk “Will Give Substantial Boost to Those Fighting on Front Lines of Opioid Epidemic”

Posted on July 13, 2016

Senate has also boosted opioid funding 542% over past three years
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"Each year, more than 1,000 Tennesseans die from opioid abuse or overdose—this is an epidemic taking more Tennessee lives than car accidents or gunshots do."

WASHINGTON, July 13 – Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today urged the President to sign bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Portman (R-Ohio), Ayotte (R-N.H.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to reform opioid programs. Alexander noted that “the Senate has also increased funding by 542 percent over the past three years to fight the opioid epidemic.”

“This is a bipartisan bill to reform important programs and give a substantial boost to those fighting on the front lines of the opioid epidemic – which in my state is taking more lives annually than gun shots or car wrecks,” Alexander said. “I commend the co-sponsors of this legislation – Senators Rob Portman, Kelly Ayotte, Sheldon Whitehouse and Amy Klobuchar for developing a consensus on how to attack this problem. The people in our states are counting on us, and I’m urging the President to sign this bill without delay.”

Alexander was one of seven Senate conferees who worked with the House conferees on the legislation passed by the Senate today.

In his opening statement at the opioids conference committee meeting last week Alexander said: “Each year, more than 1,000 Tennesseans die from opioid abuse or overdose—this is an epidemic taking more Tennessee lives than car accidents or gunshots do. The way to fight this epidemic is not to wage a distant battle from Washington but for Washington to support those who are fighting on the front lines. That battle is being fought state by state, county by county, doctor’s office by doctor’s office. This legislation should provide a substantial help in this ongoing battle.”

The legislation sponsored by Senators Portman, Ayotte, Whitehouse and Klobuchar and passed today by the United States Senate will: 

  • Support education, prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts to address the opioid abuse crisis and help individuals with an opioid use disorder get and stay well;
  • Provide grants to expand access to life-saving opioid overdose reversal medications and support veterans and law enforcement; and
  • Provide grants to states to carry out a comprehensive response to the opioid abuse crisis, including education, prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.

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For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

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