In Concord, Kuster Discusses Federal Funding for Substance Misuse Services with State and Local Leadership
(Concord, NH) – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, met with state and local leaders at the New Hampshire Medical Society to talk about the funding needs of New Hampshire and those on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. Specifically, the group discussed the omnibus appropriations billsigned into law last month, which included more than $3 billion in new spending to combat the epidemic, as well as the CARA 2.0 legislation. Kuster introduced CARA 2.0 in the House with Representatives Blackburn (R-TN), MacArthur (R-NJ), and Ryan (D-OH). This bipartisan legislation contains nearly $1 billion in funding for treatment and recovery services and would expand access to medically assisted treatment for substance use disorder.
“The opioid epidemic is impacting communities across New Hampshire and will not be solved without long-term support for those on the frontlines of the crisis,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Congress took an important step last month in appropriating more than $3 billion in new funding to address substance use disorder but more action is required. There is strong bipartisan support for additional action on this issue and I will continue to work with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to advance proposals that will increase resources and expand prevention, treatment, long-term recovery, and law enforcement efforts. I appreciated the opportunity to hear the perspectives of today’s participants and look forward to sharing their thoughts with my colleagues in Washington.”
“The Medical Society is grateful to Congresswoman Kuster for convening this important discussion on the new federal funding available to increase the much needed support for those with substance use disorders in the Granite State,” said Jim Potter, Executive Vice President of the New Hampshire Medical Society. “More than ever, now is the time for all families and stakeholders to come together in combating this devastating brain disease through long-term recovery treatment and added prevention efforts.”
Earlier this year, Kuster introduced the Respond NOW Act, which would provide critical resources to those on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force has been a driver of Congressional action to take on the opioid crisis. The Task Force successfully pushed for the inclusion of $1 billion in funding as part of the 21st Century Cures Act to address the opioid epidemic and helped pass 14 bills which were signed into law as part of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). In January, the Task Force unveiled its legislative agenda for 2018. Two pieces of legislation on the agenda, the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act and the INTERDICT Act, have already been signed into law.
Kuster was joined by Katja Fox, Director, Division of Behavioral Health, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services; Jim Potter, Executive Vice President of the New Hampshire Medical Society; Tym Rourke, Director of ‘New Hampshire Tomorrow’ at New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Tess Kuenning, President/CEO of the Bi-State Primary Care Association; Kathy Bizarro-Thunberg, Executive Vice President of Federal Relations at the New Hampshire Hospital Association; Chief David Mara, Governor’s Advisor on Addiction in the Office of the Governor; Sarah Freeman, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Providers Association; Dr. Molly Rossignol, family physician, Concord Hospital; Matthew Houde, Vice President of Government Relations at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center; Kate Frey, Vice President of Advocacy at New Futures; Susan Stearns, Deputy Director at NAMI-NH; and Shanna Large, Substance Use Disorder Program Director at Riverbend Community Mental Health, among others.