CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire has helped introduce a bill that would increase funding to fight the opioid epidemic, which has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill increases funding authorization levels and sets out new policy reforms in the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act, which was enacted in 2016.
Policy changes include new research into non-opioid pain management alternatives and into long-term treatment outcomes to sustain recovery from addiction. The bill establishes a commission to improve the quality and safety of care for drug overdoses and substance use disorders.
The bill also authorizes $300 million to expand evidence-based medication-assisted treatment and $200 million to build a national infrastructure for recovery support services to help individuals move successfully from treatment into long-term recovery.
“Over the last year, we’ve witnessed the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbate the substance use disorder epidemic in New Hampshire. Essentially, we’ve experienced one public health crisis exacerbate another. It has taken a devastating toll on our communities and it demands Congress’ attention and action,” Shaheen said in a news release.
Shaheen joined fellow Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio in introducing the bill.
More than 82,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including 389 cases announced Friday. Two new deaths were announced, bringing the total to 1,231.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 227 new cases per day on March 10 to 334 new cases per day on Wednesday.