Rep. Higgins responds to reauthorization of opioid grants

Rep. Higgins responds to reauthorization of opioid grants

The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act of 2020.

The bill provides $1 billion annually over the next five years for opioid prevention and treatment measures.

“Combatting the opioid epidemic presents a number of challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated factors contributing to opioid abuse,” U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY), a member of the Congressional Bipartisan Opioid Task Force, said. “This legislation provides needed resources to help states tackle the growing problem toward the goal of saving lives.”

Higgins sponsored the Opioid Treatment Providers Act earlier this session that expands job training for health professionals specializing in opioid treatment. He also sponsored legislation to expand medication-assisted treatment.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2018, on average, more than 130 people died daily from opioid-related drug overdoses, and 10.3 million people misused prescription opioids.

In October, more than 40 states reported increased opioid-related mortality as a result of the COVID pandemic, according to the American Medical Association.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration administers the State and Tribal Opioid Response Grants. The grants help train health care practitioners and increase access to medication-assisted treatment.