U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced a resolution to designate October as “National Substance Abuse Prevention Month” this week.
The bipartisan resolution is an effort to bring about awareness of substance use and misuse in the United States, the senators said. The senators introduced the resolution on Oct. 24, the second anniversary of the passing of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT) Act that focused on funding treatment, prevention, and support for those with opioid use disorder and substance use disorder.
“In 2019, an estimated 72,000 American lives, including 6,000 Californians, were lost to drug overdoses that were largely preventable,” said Senator Feinstein. “Communities nationwide are reporting higher levels of substance abuse, which are being exacerbated by the social isolation and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Congress has taken steps to address the nation’s drug use epidemic, including enacting the SUPPORT Act in 2018, we must do more to support programs that help prevent substance abuse from ever starting. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this resolution and help raise awareness about our nation’s drug use epidemic.”
The senators said more than 8 million people over the age of 12 used a controlled substance for the first time in 2019. An estimated 35 million people over the age of 12 used an illicit drug in 2019, the lawmakers said, and more than 20 million people in the United States over the age of 12 have a substance use disorder.
“Substance abuse affects Americans from all walks of life. While we’ve done much to address addiction and abuse at the federal level, there is more work to be done. I’m glad to join this bipartisan resolution with my colleagues to raise awareness about substance abuse, the particular obstacles during the COVID pandemic, and the many negative impacts it has on individuals and families in our country,” Senator Grassley said.
The resolution would identify October 2020 as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month and serve as awareness of the country’s substance use disorder crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic.