June 28, 2018

Van Hollen Announces Critical New Funding in the Fight Against Opioids

Today U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen announced $3.7 billion to fight the opioid crisis in the Fiscal Year 2019 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. The investment is an increase of $145 million from Fiscal Year 2018 and passed the Appropriations Committee today with strong bipartisan support.
This builds on the $482.5 million to help state and local partners combat heroin, synthetic drugs, and the illegal distribution and use of opioids that Senator Van Hollen recently announced in the Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
“Opioid addiction has wreaked havoc in Maryland and across the country, leaving no community unscathed. There is universal agreement that we need to do more fight this scourge, and I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to secure this critical funding,” said Senator Van Hollen. “We will keep fighting until we end this epidemic that has caused so many families and friends to lose loved ones." 
The bill includes the following investments:
·         $1.5 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) State Opioid Response Grant (SORG), which continues a 15 percent set-aside for states with the highest mortality rate related to opioid use disorders and a $50 million set-aside for Indian tribes and tribal organizations.  For Fiscal Year 2018, SAMHSA made $930 million in SORG funds available, of which Maryland is eligible for $32.9 million.
·         $200 million for Community Health Centers to support and enhance behavioral health, mental health, or substance use disorder services. Maryland has 17 federally-funded Community Health Centers serving more than 300,000 residents in our state. In 2016, 307,651 of visits were for behavioral health conditions.
·         $120 million focused on responding to the opioid epidemic in rural communities.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug-related deaths are 45 percent higher in rural communities, with rural states more likely to have higher rates of overdose deaths.
·         Maintains $476 million at the CDC for opioid overdose prevention and surveillance as well as a public awareness campaign. The bill includes $5 million for a new initiative at the CDC to combat infectious diseases directly related to opioid use.
·         $500 million for research related to opioid addiction, development of opioid alternatives, pain management, and addiction treatment for the National Institutes of Health.
·         $150 million, an increase of $50 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers. In the past, Maryland has received a Certified Community Health Center planning grant through this program.
·         $60 million, the same as the Fiscal Year 2018 level, for child abuse prevention and treatment programs to support the development and implementation of plans of infant safe care to improve and better-coordinate services for newborn children exposed to substances and their families or caregivers.
·         $40 million, the same as the Fiscal Year 2018 level, for mental health and substance use prevention and treatment for children and families in, or at-risk of entering, the foster care system.
·         In addition to these amounts specifically directed to address the opioid crisis, the bill also provides $1.9 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SAPTBG). In Fiscal Year 2017, Maryland received $34 million in SAPTBG funds.