Over the past decade, Vermont has seen a dramatic rise in substance abuse. Senator Leahy is committed to tackling this serious issue through his role as Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee and as the most senior member on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
On March 17, 2014, Senator Leahy held a Senate Judiciary Committee field hearing entitled “Community Solutions to Breaking the Cycle of Heroin and Opioid Addiction” in Rutland, Vermont. This was the fourth time in six years that Senator Leahy held a Judiciary Committee Hearing in Vermont to explore issues related to drug abuse and the scourge of opioid addiction.
In September 2014, he was proud to join the Vermont Delegation in securing a $524,000 grant for the Lund Center in Burlington to provide residential treatment for pregnant or postpartum women who suffer from substance abuse.
Senator Leahy fought to include funding for several measures related to combatting substance abuse in the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which was signed into law on December 17, 2014. He pioneered the Anti-Heroin Trafficking task force, which provides $7 million for competitive grants to law enforcement agencies in states, like Vermont, with high per capita levels of primary treatment admissions for heroin and other opioids.
He worked to secure $6.4 million for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas to fund federal, state and local law enforcement efforts to combat drug trafficking and abuse. He pushed to include $12 million for the Targeted Capacity Expansion Program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), and he helped secure an increase in funding for the Access to Emergency Devices Program, which helps local jurisdictions purchase products used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, like naloxone.