Alexander: $30.8 Million Heads to Tennessee Communities on Front Lines of Opioid Crisis

Posted on September 19, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 19, 2018 – Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said that Tennessee is set to receive $30.8 million to combat the opioid crisis.

“Our communities are on the front lines of fighting the opioid crisis,” Alexander said. “This funding will help health centers in Tennessee, from Chattanooga to Memphis, hire more staff and ensure they are equipped to fight the crisis; provide more medication-assisted treatment to patients; help our rural communities tackle opioid addiction; and support programs that prevent more Tennesseans from becoming addicted to opioids. These grants are funded by appropriations legislation passed by Congress in March—we have placed unprecedented amounts of federal dollars toward the opioid crisis.” 

Alexander added: “Yesterday, the Senate passed an appropriations bill for the coming year that provides another $3.8 billion to fight opioids nationwide. On Monday, the Senate passed ‘landmark legislation’ I sponsored to help Tennessee succeed in combatting the worst public health crisis our nation is facing.”

The $30.8 million in grants announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are part of the $4.7 billion included in the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Congress passed in March to fight the opioid crisis, of which $1 billion was for grants to states. The grants include$18.5 million from the State Opioid Response Grant to expand access to medication-assisted treatment and fund programs to reduce opioid overdose deaths,  $6.1 million for 23 Tennessee health centers, $800,000 to give rural communities more tools in their fight against opioid,  and $5 million for Centers of Disease Control and Prevention programs that aim to prevent more people from becoming addicted to opioids.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2019 Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill, which includes $3.8 billion to help combat the opioid crisis. This would mean Congress has approved roughly $8.5 billion for the opioids crisis within a few months. According to Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee responsible for this bill, federal funding to help combat the opioid crisis has increased by nearly 1,300 percent over the past 4 years.

On Monday, the Senate passed 99-1 the Opioid Crisis Response Act, which Alexander has been the lead sponsor on, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called “landmark legislation.”