Alexander Urges Senate, House, and White House to Support Opioid Conference Report, Provide “Substantial Boost to Those Fighting on Front Lines of Opioid Epidemic”

“This is an important bipartisan bill that was passed 94 to 1 in the Senate and 400 to 5 in the House and has had the input and hard work of many members”

Posted on July 6, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 6 – Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today urged the United States Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House to support the agreement reached today by a Senate and House conference on legislation to provide a “substantial boost to states on the front lines of our nation’s opioid epidemic.”

“This is an important bipartisan bill that was passed 94 to 1 in the Senate and 400 to 5 in the House and has had the input and hard work of many members,” Alexander said. “This is a bill to reform important programs. In addition, over the past three years, the Senate appropriators have recommended increased funding for addressing opioid abuse by a factor of seven times, and just today the House majority said it wants to increase funding by 14 times over that same period. We are willing to discuss additional funding, but this is not the place to do it.”

Alexander said at the opening of today’s conference, “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 approved today by the joint Senate and House conference committee 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.

The legislation approved today now awaits a vote by the full House and Senate so it can be then sent to the president and signed into law.

Alexander was one of seven Senate conferees who worked with the House conferees on the legislation approved in conference 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.).

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