Kuster-Backed Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic, Pandemic Scams Pass Energy and Commerce Committee
Washington, DC, September 10, 2020
Hopkinton, NH – Yesterday, Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) participated in an eight-hour virtual Energy and Commerce Committee markup of 38 bills, where she spoke in support of the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act and the Combating Pandemic Scams Act of 2020. Several bills that Rep. Kuster has cosponsored were approved by the Committee, including the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act, which reauthorizes through 2026 the State Opioid Response Grants program that is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), providing $1.5 billion annually to help treatment providers, first responders, and families facing the challenge of addiction. The Committee also passed the Combating Pandemic Scams Act of 2020, a bipartisan bill Kuster and her colleagues introduced earlier this year that directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other federal departments to identify and inform the public about COVID-19 scams.
During the markup, Kuster offered an amendment to the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act to ensure flexibility to help those suffering from methamphetamine and cocaine dependency, in addition to opioid use disorder.
“The Opioid Response Grants program is a critical resource for communities in New Hampshire and across the country who are on the frontlines of the substance use disorder crisis,” said Kuster. “As the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force, I regularly lead roundtable discussions with experts and providers to identify solutions to the evolving opioid epidemic – from the first wave of pain medication misuse, to heroin and fentanyl, and now the fourth wave of this crisis: stimulants. My amendment to the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act ensures the necessary flexibility to help those suffering from methamphetamine and cocaine dependency, in addition to opioid use disorder. I’ll continue working with my colleagues to commit resources to turn the tide on the epidemic and support prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.”
“During the COVID-19 crisis, Granite Staters have set an example for the nation by pulling together as a community and helping their neighbors,” Kuster continued. “It is unthinkable that some people are trying to use this pandemic to profit personally, yet that is the reality we face. The Combating Pandemic Scams Act of 2020, which we advanced in our markup, will help hold bad actors accountable and protect the most vulnerable Americans who are often targeted in these scams. I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation.”
Rep. Kuster is the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force and has been staying in close contact with addiction treatment and mental health care providers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, she and her Task Force colleagues held a virtual discussion on addressing the opioid epidemic during the coronavirus public health crisis. A member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Kuster has led efforts in Congress to expand access and parity for tele-health and supported robust funding for our health care system.