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Kaine Urges Funding To Combat Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined 17 of his Senate colleagues in a letter urging increased funding for critical prescription drug abuse prevention, treatment and research programs at the Department of Health and Human Services. In the letter to U.S. Senate appropriators, the senators request the nation’s response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic be strengthened through additional funding in fiscal year (FY) 2016.

“Prescription and illicit drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States that continues to grow at an alarming rate. Drug overdose deaths have skyrocketed in the past decade, largely because of prescription opioids, and they have become the leading cause of injury death in the U.S.,” the senators wrote. “It is critical that we make a strong commitment to strengthen our nation’s efforts to combat this epidemic.” 

In the letter to U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Chairman Roy Blunt and Ranking Member Patty Murray, the senators called for increased funding for domestic prescription drug abuse prevention, treatment, and research through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Increased funding in FY 2016 for critical initiatives at the CDC, SAMHSA and NIH will help reduce deaths and improve the nation’s health and safety.

Last month, Kaine introduced the bipartisan Opioid Overdose Reduction Act to protect first responders, health professionals and family members who are educated in administering an opioid overdose prevention drug, such as naloxone (also known as Narcan) in an emergency situation of overdose.

Joining Kaine in sending the letter were Senators Tammy Baldwin, Ed Markey, Joe Manchin, Chuck Schumer, Bernard Sanders, Al Franken, Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin, Jeanne Shaheen, Ron Wyden, Sherrod Brown, Angus King, Elizabeth Warren, Mazie K. Hirono and Richard Blumenthal.

An online version of the letter can be found here.