New Hampshire Congressional Delegation Announces $5 Million to Support NH Workforce Impacted by Opioid Epidemic
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02), announced that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will award $5 million to the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs to help the Granite State workforce, which has been severely affected by the opioid epidemic.
“The opioid epidemic is severely impacting both New Hampshire’s public health and economy,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m very pleased that this substantial federal grant has been awarded to help New Hampshire workers get their lives back on track through training and access to treatment. Our state desperately needs these investments to deliver help where it’s needed most. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll keep working across the aisle to deliver additional funding to New Hampshire to turn the tide of this epidemic.”
“We need to ensure that people struggling with addiction have access to the full range of services they need to not only get treatment but also to get their lives back on track as productive members of society,” said Senator Hassan. “This significant federal funding is an important step forward that will help provide job training to hundreds of Granite Staters who have been impacted by the opioid crisis while working to ensure that communities across New Hampshire have the workers they need to support individuals impacted by substance misuse. I will keep working with our entire Congressional delegation to deliver the resources our state needs to combat this devastating epidemic.”
“The opioid epidemic is not just a health crisis; it hurts people’s lives in so many ways, including through its impacts on employment,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “I am pleased that this grant means more federal funding will be coming to New Hampshire, because our state needs to expand our treatment and recovery workforce and do more to help those impacted by the crisis find and keep good jobs. This funding will help our state do both. It will be used to provide career services to support workers impacted by the opioid crisis and help provide skills training for those who want to work on the front lines to turn the tide in this crisis.”
“This funding is a critical resource to help encourage training in the fields that will help us tackle the opioid epidemic and put individuals impacted by substance use disorder back to work,” said Congresswoman Kuster, the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. “I’m encouraged that this grant will allow the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs to spearhead innovative and creative solutions that will have the greatest impact on communities here in the Granite State.”
The grant will be disbursed by the Employment and Training Administration, which is managed by the DOL. This federal initiative specifically helps communities and regions that have experienced workforce and economic effects due to the opioid crisis. Funding can be used by awardees in a number of ways, including career training services, workforce training or apprenticeship programs, mental and other health related services and additional tools to help populations impacted by the opioid epidemic.
Senator Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has led efforts in Congress to combat the opioid epidemic and to procure federal funding for New Hampshire’s opioid response efforts. As members of the Common Sense Caucus, Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped secure an additional $6 billion to combat the opioid crisis in the budget deal signed into law in February, and helped ensure that a dedicated portion of that funding would be set aside specifically for states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. The Senators also led efforts to change the SAMHSA funding formula that puts states like New Hampshire with small populations and high mortality rates from opioid overdoses, at a disadvantage. As part of her efforts to strengthen recovery services and help those impacted by substance misuse get their lives back on track, Senator Hassan introduced the bipartisan Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to expand existing centers to serve as “Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers” that provide a full range of treatment and recovery services to not only treat patients but also to provide them with the resources they need to lead successful and drug-free lives, including support to reintegrate into the workforce. The measure passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee as part of the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018.
In the House, Congresswoman Shea-Porter blew the whistle on New Hampshire’s low share of funding under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Shea-Porter secured unanimous bipartisan support for her amendment to the Higher Education Act reauthorization bill that would require colleges and universities to adopt drug- and alcohol-abuse prevention programs that specifically address the opioid crisis. Congresswoman Kuster introduced the bipartisan Federal Opioid Response Fairness Act to make clear that the formula for opioid funding should take into account deaths per capita. Congresswoman Shea-Porter has also cosponsored the bill. SAMHSA recently agreed to change this funding formula and also limit the number of states eligible for the set-aside funds to a targeted list of states, adhering to a request from the New Hampshire congressional delegation. Together, the funding increase in the omnibus funding bill and these subsequent changes to allocate additional resources to states with exceptionally high overdose death rates, have led to the substantial increase in resources for New Hampshire announced in June.