Alexander: House Passage of Conference Report “Puts Us One Step Closer to Providing a Substantial Boost to Those Fighting on Front Lines of Opioid Epidemic”

Urges full Senate to now support important bipartisan bill that passed 94 to 1 earlier this year

Posted on July 8, 2016

WASHINGTON, July 8 – Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today urged the United States Senate to support bipartisan legislation to provide a “substantial boost to states on the front lines of our nation’s opioid epidemic,” after it passed the United States House of Representatives by a vote of 407-5.

“This is a bipartisan bill to reform important programs that already passed 94 to 1 in the Senate earlier this year and has had the input and hard work of many members.” Alexander said. “In addition, over the last three years, we've increased funding for opioids already by 542 percentthat's over five times more than two and a half years ago.”

He continued: “You would think that when something which has passed the Senate 94-1, comes back for approval, it would pass again 94-1. The people on the front lines are counting on us to boost their efforts to fight this epidemic, which is killing more people every year in my state than gunshots or car wrecks. It’s time to get a result.”

Alexander was one of seven Senate conferees who worked with the House conferees on the legislation passed by the House today. Senators on the committee included: Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Alexander, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

In his opening statement at the opioids conference committee meeting earlier this 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 passed today by the full House, now awaits Senate approval so it can be sent to the president and signed into law.

The legislation passed today by the House of Representatives 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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