03.29.16

Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) To The President’s Announcement Of Additional Steps To Address The Opioid And Heroin Addiction Crisis Tuesday, March 29, 2016

“Communities in Vermont and across the country are struggling with addiction to opioids, a public health crisis that now claims more than 80 lives each day.  Vermont has pursued an innovative all-hands-on-deck approach, but all states struggle to marshal the needed resources to get ahead of addiction.  That is why I have worked to secure additional federal support for Medication-Assisted Treatment and for state anti-heroin drug task forces.  I’m gratified that Vermont is an early beneficiary of this added support.  I am also proud to cosponsor and to help usher through the Senate last month the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which authorizes added support for key prevention, treatment and recovery programs.  It is regrettable and short-sighted that Republicans last month voted down emergency supplemental funding to support CARA and other anti-opioid efforts.  If Congress is serious about ending addiction, it must put real funding behind such critically needed programs.

“The steps that President Obama announced today in Atlanta show his continued commitment to putting real resources ‎behind a comprehensive response.  Offering more than just rhetoric, the President is expanding access to buprenorphine treatment and naloxone, supporting an anti-heroin drug task force grant program that I helped create, and promoting prevention in hard-hit rural communities.  The President clearly takes this challenge seriously.  Congress must do the same.”

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