WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, President Donald Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, which was approved by Congress on Thursday to boost border security and fund government operations through the remainder of the fiscal year. The bipartisan funding package includes seven appropriations bills which support critical programs across Southern and Eastern Kentucky, including rural infrastructure, the coal industry, improvements for school safety, protecting the sanctity of life and combating the drug abuse epidemic.
The legislation includes vital funding for grant programs that support drug courts, prescription drug monitoring and at-risk youth programs. It also provides for regulatory science, enforcement and innovation activities, as well as Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants to help rural communities address the national opioid crisis.
"We've made great strides in recent years in the battle against drug abuse, and this legislation ensures hope for life-saving measures will continue in communities across the country. This funding is comprehensive in scope, addressing needs for prevention in our schools, increasing treatment and recovery opportunities in rural areas, and empowering law enforcement with the tools they need to hold drug dealers accountable," said Congressman Rogers, co-founding co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse. "While this federal funding package addresses many of our nation's needs, I want to specifically applaud the bipartisan effort of this Congress to prevent, treat and enforce drug abuse issues that are plaguing thousands of families every single day. Together, we are saving lives and preventing abuse."
The new law includes the following measures to fight the drug abuse epidemic in Kentucky:
Support for Combatting the Drug Epidemic
Treatment and Reentry – the bill includes $77 million for drug courts at the Department of Justice to support non-violent offenders in their recovery. An additional $22 million is included for Veterans Treatment Courts to help our men and women in uniform who are struggling with addiction. Both of these accounts are funded at $2 million more than the FY18 enacted level. Offender reentry and research activities under the Second Chance Act are also funded at $87.5 million.
Community Prevention – $100 million is approved for the Drug Free Communities Program, which provides funding to community-based groups seeking to prevent youth substance abuse.
Support for Federal and Local Drug Enforcement Initiatives
- $280 million is provided 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 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is funded at $2.6 billion, with $419.5 million specifically allocated to combat the illicit diversion of prescription drugs.
- $32 million is included for Anti-Heroin Task Forces and $8 million is continued for Anti-Meth Task Forces.
- Byrne Justice Assistance Grants are funded with $423.5 million, an increase of $8.5 million over the FY18 enacted level. This funding will support all components of the criminal justice system, from drug and gang task forces to domestic violence programs, treatment, and justice information sharing. These funds will go a long way to keep Kentucky safe.
International Drug Interdiction – the bill supports President Trump’s “Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand” by increasing funding to help Mexico secure its borders and combat poppy cultivation and heroin, and synthetic drug production; increasing funding to support precursor chemical control; and increasing funding for global demand reduction programs. The bill also directs the Secretary of State to develop an international diplomatic and assistance strategy to stop the flow of opioids into the United States.