WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced on Monday more than $160 million in federal resources to combat the opioid crisis in states like Ohio that have been hardest hit by the epidemic. The funding was included as part of the government funding package agreed to late Sunday night.



“As individuals, families and communities across the country continue to be devastated by the opioid epidemic, I’m glad to see more federal resources for individuals and families to get the treatment they need and for law enforcement to combat the flow of these deadly drugs into our communities,” said Brown. “Stemming the tide of the opioid epidemic in Ohio will require the cooperation of federal, state, and local partners, and we know there is more work to be done. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to make sure local communities have the resources they need as we work to tackle the opioid epidemic in Ohio.”







The $160 million includes $10 million funding for statewide anti-heroin task forces, as well as funding for treatment and prevention programs. The bill also fully funds the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which Brown supported. CARA included Brown’s provision to prevent potential overprescribing and misuse of opioids within Medicare by locking those at risk of addiction into one prescriber and one pharmacy to help mitigate the risk of prescribing opioids to at-risk patients. Funding is also included for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement the Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act, a bill introduced by Brown and Sen. Baldwin (D-WI), which passed into law as part of CARA and will help provide safer and more effective pain management services to our nation’s veterans.



Last month, Brown announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released $26 million in grant funding to Ohio to bolster efforts to combat the opioid epidemic after he joined Senate colleagues in in a letter to President Trump calling for the release of critical resources that have been designated to address the nation’s opioid epidemic.



Brown urged Governor George “Sonny” Perdue, President Trump’s nominee to serve as the Secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to continue USDA’s efforts to fight the opioid epidemic in Ohio communities. USDA has helped in the fight against opioids through its Rural Development grant programs, like the Community Facilities Program—which helps rural communities expand local resources like medical facilities and public safety services. Brown also supported a strong Rural Development title in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide economic support to rural communities.



Last month, Brown also worked with his colleagues Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to introduce bipartisan legislation to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) keep the deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl, out of the country. Brown’s bill, the INTERDICT Act, would provide CBP with additional high-tech screening equipment and lab resources to detect fentanyl before it enters the U.S. According to a report from the Ohio Department of Health, fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio more than doubled from 503 in 2014 to 1,155 in 2015. Several state and national law enforcement organizations have endorsed Brown’s bill.



Last Congress, Brown introduced legislation that would address the opioid epidemic from prevention to recovery, filling in gaps that would help: boost prevention, improve tools for crisis response for those who fall through the cracks, expand access to treatment, and provide support for lifelong recovery.