Kuster Introduces the Respond NOW Act to Provide Resources to Tackle the Opioid Epidemic
**Legislation would provide $25 billion in opioid funding**
**You can watch Kuster’s full remarks on the House floor HERE**
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, introduced the Respond NOW Act, which would provide critical resources to those on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. Kuster’s legislation creates a $25 billion Opioid Epidemic Response Fund to provide $5 billion annually over five years targeted to numerous key activities involving such agencies as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Centers for Disease Control, and the National Institutes of Health. The funding includes $18.5 billion for SAMHSA grants to states, particularly targeted at expanding Medication-Assisted Treatment, $2.5 billion for critical CDC initiatives such as Expanding and Strengthening Evidence-Based Prevention and Education Strategies, as well as $250 million to support the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.
“We need an aggressive strategy to tackle the opioid epidemic and the Respond NOW Act is the type of bold approach that it’s going to take to turn the tide on this crisis,” said Kuster. “The President has yet to put action behind his many words when it comes to taking on the opioid epidemic and it’s clear that leadership will need to come from Congress. I’ve heard from treatment and recovery providers, law enforcement, and first responders across New Hampshire about the need for additional resources to support their efforts on the frontlines. I urge my colleagues to join me in working to advance this critical legislation so that we can save lives.”
The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, founded by Kuster, has been a driver of Congressional action to take on the opioid epidemic. 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). Last month, 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.