Rep. Kustoff introduces bill aimed at reducing opioid use during pandemic

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In an effort to reduce substance and opioid use amongst young people during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN) introduced legislation to allow federal agencies to waive matching funds requirements for drug programs to communities who can’t afford it.

The Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act, introduced Thursday in partnership with Reps. Ted Budd (R-NC) and Harley Rouda (D-CA), would provide the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) with authority to waive the matching grant requirement of the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program if the grantee can’t provide the funds.

“In West Tennessee, we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impact many community-based coalitions and their ability to match funds for federal grant resources. Organizations in our district, such as the Madison Housing Authority, have been influential in creating a safe and healthy environment to treat and prevent youth substance use. However, under these unprecedented times, it has been challenging for many coalitions, especially those who assist with anti-drug education and awareness efforts, to meet these matching grant requirements for the Drug-Free Communities Support Program,” Kustoff said. “This has resulted in an increase in opioid deaths across our communities. I am proud to support this bill that will allow these treatment coalitions to stay afloat and give help to those who need it the most.”

The bill would ensure Drug-Free Communities coalitions can continue to operate and reduce youth substance use during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Congressmen said.

Orange County is fighting two public health crises — coronavirus and addiction,” Rouda said. “We must ensure that the federal government continues to support local Drug-Free Communities coalitions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This common-sense and bipartisan bill would remove financial limitations that could prevent community-led programs from operating and saving lives during the pandemic.”

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