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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

Making strides

Jun 15, 2018
Catching up with Annie

Dear Friend,

Funding is a critical component of bolstering our response to one of the most pressing public health issues of our time, the opioid epidemic. I’ve worked tirelessly to push the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to change its opioid funding formula so that the hardest hit states like New Hampshire get the critical resources necessary to take on this crisis. I’m pleased New Hampshire will receive $22.9 million in additional funding, however, our job is not done, and I will continue to advocate strongly for the funding and policy changes we need to help us end this ongoing problem.

This week, the House of Representatives came together to pass dozens of bills to take on the opioid crisis. I was proud that the Bipartisan Heroin and Opioid Task Force and its members played such an instrumental role in driving this critical work. 

In the three years since I founded the Task Force, our understanding of the substance use crisis has grown substantially and so too has the willingness of our colleagues to work with us to develop a comprehensive response that expands prevention, treatment, and long-term recovery. Just in the last year and a half, we’ve hosted nearly a dozen roundtable discussions to educate our fellow members of Congress, bringing to Washington individuals struggling with substance use disorder, people in treatment and recovery, healthcare providers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts, law enforcement, and first responders. The bills we passed this week will make a real difference for those on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. 

We’ve passed legislation:

-To improve drug courts for veterans so that our men and women in uniform can access treatment instead of incarceration. 

-To create innovative and comprehensive opioid recovery centers in the states hardest hit by the crisis.

-To provide student loan repayment programs for people who want to work in substance use disorder. 

-To improve recovery housing, enhance best practices for opioid prescribing, and bolster law enforcement’s ability to curtail the trafficking of synthetic opioids.

On Wednesday, I joined Representatives Elizabeth Esty and Tom MacArthur to introduce legislation that would provide funding to medical examiners and forensic labs that are struggling to keep up with the mounting death toll resulting from the opioid epidemic tearing apart communities across the country. Law enforcement and medical examiners face the formidable job of identifying substances involved in a lethal overdose and this bill will support efforts undertaken by communities to effectively respond to the spread and impact of synthetic opioids. This crisis isn’t a partisan issue and I’m encouraged by the bipartisan efforts to come together behind common-sense proposals that will help address this public health emergency. 

I’ve been very concerned about the stories of families being broken up at the border. Immediately separating children from their families at the border is unconscionable. These families flee violence and danger and should have the opportunity to apply for asylum. I've signed onto a bill to help end this practice because we can have law and order without compromising our values.  

Watch me discuss legislation to end separation of children & parents at the border

 

The VA New Hampshire Vision 2025 Task Force’s report this week represents another step towards adopting many of the recommendations made by the veterans who use the Manchester VAMC and the medical professionals who serve them. Although I’m disappointed that the report doesn’t recommend building a full-service hospital, I believe the recommendations put the Manchester VAMC on course to become a model for the nation. The proposed investment in facilities allows more veterans to receive treatment for mental health conditions and opioid addiction. The VA will also expand services at community based outpatient clinics, bringing rehabilitation therapy, specialty care, imaging and lab work closer to home for many veterans. As the implementation of these plans moves forward, I will be closely monitoring their progress and continue working with New Hampshire veterans to ensure they are receiving the care they deserve. 

As your Representative, my most important job is supporting Granite Staters when they need help with federal agencies. I was recently contacted by Aadith Kannan of Nashua, who needed his Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) expedited in order for him to start a new position he was offered. My staff worked with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and helped expedite Aadith’s EAD in time for him to start his new position. If my office may ever be of assistance with a problem you are experiencing, please reach out to my staff at 603-226-1002 so we may help you resolve your problem or get the information you need. 

Thank you as always for everything you do to make our state such a great place to live. Have a wonderful weekend! 

Sincerely,