Vermont Receives $4 Million Through Leahy-Led Program To Address The Opioid Crisis

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Friday announced that the Vermont State Agency of Human Services is receiving $4,020,896 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

The funding is part of the State Opioid Response Grant program created as part of the Leahy-negotiated 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law this spring.  Vermont’s $4 million grant is a direct result of language that Leahy fought for in the bill guaranteeing each state at least $4 million to fight the deadly opioid crisis.

Leahy said:  “The opioid epidemic has become the health crisis of our time.  Every community and every family has been touched in some way by this tragic loss of life or the struggle of addiction.  An epidemic of this scale must be met with bold new ideas and the resources to back them up.  I am glad that Congress is finally beginning to take action – real action not just empty words – to put the full force of our nation behind trying to solve this problem.  Too many Vermonters are suffering to do less than all we can.”

The funding announced today is part of $6 billion in new funding over two years, which Leahy and other congressional Democrats secured in February’s bipartisan budget deal, to be distributed nationwide to strengthen responses to the opioid epidemic across many fronts, including prevention, treatment, enforcement and support for those in recovery.  Leahy, as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in negotiating the funding framework to fulfill this promise that included the state minimum.

In 2017, 72,000 people lost their lives to drug overdoses and the opioid epidemic in the U.S, a 10 percent increase over 2016.  Opioid abuse is one of the leading causes of unnatural death in Vermont, with 101 opioid related deaths reported in 2017, far more than traffic deaths or gun deaths in Vermont.

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