February 7, 2018

Whitehouse Applauds Opioid Addiction Treatment Funding in Budget Deal

$6 billion would bolster efforts to combat public health crisis

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today applauded the significant federal investment to combat the opioid addiction crisis included in a tentative deal to fund the federal government.  The budget proposal announced this afternoon includes an agreement to provide $6 billion in federal funding for programs to stem the addiction epidemic.  Whitehouse is a lead author of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), sweeping bipartisan legislation designed to curb the public health crisis and save lives, which was signed into law in 2016. 

“This proposal is a good next step to bolster the addiction prevention and recovery programs that are needed to save lives in states gripped by this public health crisis,” said Whitehouse.  “Rhode Island is a small, close-knit place and the effects of addiction are felt in every corner of our state.  Families grappling with addiction every day should not have to wait any longer for Congress to fund the programs we have put in place to prevent opioid addiction and support those on the long, noble path of recovery.”

Whitehouse has repeatedly called for adequate funding to address the crisis, as billions of dollars are needed for prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.  Last month, Whitehouse called for an investigation into the Trump Administration’s failure to marshal resources to fight the opioid epidemic since declaring it a public health emergency.

CARA established a range of federal policies, including programs to increase education on drug use, expand medication-assisted treatment, improve prescription drug monitoring programs, and promote comprehensive state responses to the opioid crisis.  As a result of the legislation, Rhode Island has received $3 million over three years to create ten Centers of Excellence for Opioid Use Disorders.  The Centers provide rapid access to treatment and comprehensive services for people struggling with opioid addiction. 

In 2016, 336 Rhode Islanders died of accidental drug overdoses, according to the Department of Health.  The state saw an 8 percent decrease in opioid overdose deaths in the first eight months of 2017, compared to the same period the previous year. 


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