November 14, 2017

Manchin and Capito Introduce Bill to Prioritize Funding for States Hard Hit by Opioid Epidemic

Bipartisan legislation would change funding formula to target states with greatest need

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) today introduced the Targeted Opioid Formula Act to prioritize federal funding for states that have been hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, including West Virginia. The bill would require the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which operates under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to take into account mortality rates and lack of access to treatment and services when allocating State Targeted Response Opioid Crisis Grants, rather than making grant determinations for states based on population size.‎

“West Virginia is ground zero in the opioid epidemic and this legislation will ensure that the necessary resources are allocated to help our communities beat this public health crisis,” Senator Manchin said. “Requiring HHS and SAMHSA to weigh mortality rate and lack of access to services when allocating CURES funding will help ensure that this funding will go to the places that need it most and that our West Virginia communities on the front lines have the support they need to end this epidemic once and for all.”

“The opioid crisis has affected lives and communities across the country, but some states—including West Virginia—have been hit harder than others,” Senator Capito said. “This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that states dealing with the worst of the drug epidemic are receiving an appropriate share of the resources being provided to fight it. By targeting resources to where they’re needed most, we can make our efforts to fight this epidemic more strategic and more effective.”

The bipartisan bill would change how federal agencies determine State Targeted Response Opioid Crisis Grant funding for Fiscal Year 2018 to prioritize states like West Virginia, which have the highest mortality rates from opioid overdoses in the nation. This federal grant program was created by the 21st Century Cures Act that was signed into law last year.

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