Kuster Provides Legislative Update for Local Law Enforcement Fighting Heroin Epidemic
Salem, NH – This afternoon, Congresswoman Annie Kuster held another in a series of regional briefings on the heroin epidemic in Salem, NH. Today’s briefing was aimed specifically at providing members of law enforcement with an update on how recently passed legislation, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) can help support their efforts to get dangerous drugs off our streets.
“We cannot end the heroin epidemic without ensuring that members of our law enforcement have the support they need to provide adequate emergency response, crack down on dealers, and ultimately rid our communities of heroin and illegal prescription drugs,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Our law enforcement members are doing an incredible job fighting this epidemic head-on; however, by doing ride-a-longs with local police officers and holding regional briefings with local law enforcement, I’ve seen firsthand the strain this epidemic is putting on their resources. I’ve long fought for more funding to aid their efforts, and today I was proud to share information about new funding sources that will soon be available for them through CARA, legislation I helped pass into law.”
Kuster was joined at today’s briefing by representatives from the Salem, Atkinson, Windham, and Pelham police departments. She discussed the largest grant program included in CARA, which was created in part to specifically help the law enforcement community.
The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Grant Program will allow states and localities like New Hampshire that have been disproportionately impacted by opioid misuse to apply for grants. These grants focus on: treatment alternatives to incarceration; state facilitation or enhancement of collaboration between criminal justice agencies and substance use agencies; naloxone training for first responders; developing, implementing, or expanding a medication-assisted treatment program used by a criminal justice agency; developing or expanding programs to prevent and address opioid use by juveniles; and drug take-back programs. During today’s briefing, Kuster outlined these initiatives and helped local officials learn how they will be able to apply for these grants and implement the programs on the ground.
Kuster has helped lead the fight in Washington for additional funding to address the heroin epidemic. The co-chair and co-founder of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, Kuster was instrumental in getting CARA passed through the House, and she sat on the Conference Committee that reconciled the House and Senate versions and prepared the bill for final passage. CARA has now passed both chambers, and it will be signed into law by the President this month.