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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Courtney, Esty Lead 23 Members Of The House, Asking For Emergency Funding To Address The Growing Opioid Addiction Crisis

November 21, 2016
Press Release
The members of Congress are asking for opioid funding to be included in the 21st Century Cures Act which is expected to pass before the end of the year

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-05), along with Rep. Ann McLane Kuster  (D-NH) sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging them to honor their promise to fund opioid treatment and enforcement programs this year. In addition, Rep. John Larson (CT-01) and Rep. Jim Himes (CT-04) also joined the effort. When the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA) was signed into law in July with overwhelming bipartisan support, the programs it established were not provided with any new funding. At the time, the chairs of the conference committee which negotiated the final bill agreed appropriations would be necessary to fund these programs in Fiscal Year 2017.

“Today, 78 people will likely die of a heroin or opioid overdose,” wrote the members. “This epidemic rages on across the United States, and local law enforcement and public health agencies are overwhelmed by need.  It is our responsibility to provide them with the resources they desperately require to save lives and repair their communities. We continue to hear from leaders in law enforcement and in addiction recovery who say they are unable to provide assistance to needy residents because they lack the funds.

“As you complete work on the 21st Century Cures legislation, we write to encourage you to include immediate funding to combat heroin and opioid addiction and overdose in this package. Knowing that Cures will likely be one of the final pieces of legislation that Congress acts on this year, we hope you will consider this a final opportunity to take needed action to combat this crisis.”

In addition to being on the conference committee for CARA, Courtney and Esty have both been leaders in the fight to secure additional federal resources to address the growing prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. In February, Courtney introduced HR 4447, the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, which would appropriate $600 million in emergency supplemental funds to law enforcement and public health efforts to address the opioid crisis in local communities. In March, Esty introduced H.R. 4697, the Prevent Drug Addiction Act, which would provide much-needed federal assistance to help communities in Connecticut and across the country prevent opioid addiction from happening in the first place. Both Courtney and Esty serve on the House Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic.

The full text of the letter, which was signed by 23 members, can be read below, or click here to view the original letter

November 18, 2016

The Honorable Paul Ryan 

Speaker of the House

H-232, U.S. Capitol

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell,

Today, 78 people will likely die of a heroin or opioid overdose. This epidemic rages on across the United States, and local law enforcement and public health agencies are overwhelmed by need.  It is our responsibility to provide them with the resources they desperately require to save lives and repair their communities. We continue to hear from leaders in law enforcement and in addiction recovery who say they are unable to provide assistance to needy residents because they lack the funds.

As you complete work on the 21st Century Cures legislation, we write to encourage you to include immediate funding to combat heroin and opioid addiction and overdose in this package. Knowing that Cures will likely be one of the final pieces of legislation that Congress acts on this year, we hope you will consider this a final opportunity to take needed action to combat this crisis.

As you know, this spring, both chambers passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, and while it authorizes important efforts to improve treatment for addiction and respond to the crisis, it lacks any funding to support these programs. During conference discussions for CARA, representations were made from the Majority chairs in both chambers that funds would be appropriated in FY2017. H.R. 4447, which has 40 House cosponsors, provides a solid framework for these necessary resources. We continue to fervently support appropriating additional emergency funds to aid this effort and support the goals of CARA.

It is crucial that we treat the opioid epidemic like the emergency that it is, and ensure that those responding to the crisis have the resources they need, now. We cannot sit idly by any longer as family after family is torn apart by an unnecessary tragedy while skilled officials are standing at the ready to intervene. We have the ability and obligation to provide them with the resources they need.  Please take this opportunity to provide immediate funding to combat the opioid addiction and overdose crisis that continues to devastate American communities.

Sincerely,

 

REP. JOE COURTNEY (D-CT)

ELIZABETH ESTY (D-CT)

DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI)

ANN MCLANE KUSTER (D-NH)

JOHN B. LARSON (D-CT)

JIM HIMES (D-CT)

STEPHEN LYNCH (D-MA)

NIKI TSONGAS (D-MA)

ALAN GRAYSON (D-FL)

DONALD NORCROSS (D-NJ)

TIM RYAN (D-OH)

RICK LARSEN (D-WA)

CHELLIE PINGREE (D-ME)

TED DEUTCH (D-FL)

BRIAN HIGGINS (D-NY)

PAT MALONEY (D-NY)

PETER WELCH (D-VT)

RICHARD NEAL (D-MA)

CHERI BUSTOS (D-IL)

JOHN CONYERS (D-MI)

CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD)

MARCY KAPTUR (D-OH)

MARK TAKANO (D-CA)

KATHERINE CLARK (D-MA)

 

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