Federal Money to Combat Opioid Epidemic Likely to Come New Hampshire's Way

Dec 7, 2016

Federal legislation aimed at helping states struggling with the opioid epidemic is headed to President Obama’s desk. That’s after the U.S. Senate Wednesday passed the proposal 94 to 5.

The legislation is called “The 21st Century Cures Act” and is focused on spending money to support drug education, prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. The bill has $1 billion attached to it, to be doled out to states based on their per-capita drug overdose rates. New Hampshire ranks third nationally in that figure.

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a vocal advocate for this legislation, said after the vote that “those on the front lines have waited long enough for the resources needed to combat this epidemic."

U.S. Congresswoman Annie Kuster, who also pushed for the bill's passage in the House, said in a press release Wednesday that this "is a strong recognition of the need to treat the addiction crisis like the public health emergency that it is."

The money in the bill will also be used to improve the mental healthcare system by strengthening laws mandating parity in insurance coverage for mental and physical health care.

In July President Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act or CARA, which included $468 million towards drug treatment.