WASHINGTON, DC -- Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the fiscal year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill to fund the federal government through September 30, 2017. U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-05) voted for the legislation that funds the nation's priorities, including critical efforts to combat the deadly drug abuse epidemic in Kentucky.
"Great strides have been made in combatting drug abuse in southern and eastern Kentucky; however, still too many lives are lost each year to accidental overdoses," said Congressman Rogers, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. "One person dies every ten minutes from a drug overdoes in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so we must continue the multi-pronged approach in this life-saving mission to stop illegal drug sales, prevent abuse and properly treat addiction."
The Omnibus fulfills the promise of bipartisan legislation enacted during the 114th Congress (the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, and the 21st Century Cures Act) by including an increase of $781 million over current levels for fighting the opioid epidemic. Specific examples of measures to help save lives and prevent generational drug abuse trends include:
Drug Enforcement – the bill increases funding to $254 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program to assist federal, state, and local authorities clean up trafficking hot-spots, which will enable the Appalachian HIDTA to continue its work in southern and eastern Kentucky. The legislation also includes $2.1 billion for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a $23 million increase over 2016 enacted levels. $382 million is specifically allocated to combat the diversion of prescription drugs. In addition, $234 million is included for the National Guard’s Counter-drug program, which supports ongoing marijuana eradication efforts in the Daniel Boone National Forrest. $10 million is provided to support state and local law enforcement efforts to clean up methamphetamine labs, and $10 million is provided to support heroin task forces around the country.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) – the legislation provides $14 million to implement and enhance PDMPs, which help doctors make good prescribing decision and investigators root out bad actors.
Drug Courts – includes $103 million for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help non-violent offenders struggling with addiction. An additional $7 million is included for Veterans Treatment Courts to help our men and women in uniform who are struggling with addiction, and $2 million will be available to train drug court judges around the country.
Prevention and Treatment – the legislation provides $150 million increase for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and $1.25 million to help states implement model drug legislation. In addition, the bill appropriates $112 million for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to continue its Opioid Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention program and $56 million for Medication-Assisted Treatment grants. The bill also allocates $97 million to the Drug Free Communities Program, which provides funding to community-based groups seeking to prevent youth substance abuse. Finally, the legislation encourages HHS to facilitate training of healthcare professionals and paramedics and to increase access to emergency devices, like naloxone.
To learn more about how the FY17 Omnibus Appropriations bill will impact Kentucky, visit halrogers.house.gov.