U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen introduced sweeping legislation this week to spend $63 billion over 10 years to combat addiction beyond the opioid epidemic.
Shaheen, a Democrat seeking a third term next year, outlined her proposal with WTSN’s Mike Pomp on News Talk 98.1.
Substance abuse disorders claim 70,000 lives a year nationally at a cost of $500 billion to the economy and she said New Hampshire, meanwhile, has one of the nation’s highest drug overdose death rates. The state medical examiner’s office said in May that the 2018 total was 470 deaths, with results of two cases still pending. That was down slightly from the previous year, but Shaheen said such figures should not become the “new normal.”
While Congress recently authorized $6 billion over two years to respond to the opioid crisis, Shaheen said providers and others need more flexibility in how they spend such money.
Her legislation would increase state opioid response treatment grants from $1.5 billion per year to $5.5 billion per year for the next five years, and would change the grants to allow the money to be used for the treatment of disorders involving non-opioids, such as methamphetamines.
It would also prioritize prevention, seeking to replicate a successful New Hampshire program aimed at helping children who witness violence and other trauma.
Associated Press contributed to the story