Press Releases

Rose Leads Push to Increase Funding for Opioid Treatment, Prevention Efforts

Congressman spearheads bipartisan effort of more than 50 lawmakers in calling for ‘highest possible’ SAMSHA funding

Washington, March 29, 2019

Congressman Max Rose, who has made addressing the opioid epidemic a top priority, is leading a bipartisan effort of more than 50 lawmakers in calling for the “highest possible funding level” for most important federal agency in fighting the opioid crisis, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“The opioid epidemic is the greatest public health crisis of our generation, and we need to address it as such,” Rose said. “Just last year, we lost more American lives to drugs including heroin and fentanyl than we lost in the entire Vietnam War. We need the full force of the federal government, in coordination with state and local governments, non-profits, law enforcement, and health professionals working hand-in-glove to tackle this from every side. We have to do more, lives are on the line.”

SAMHSA plays a critical role in fighting the opioid epidemic through funding and grant programs to state and local governments, and other institutions to help ensure Americans receive the prevention, treatment, and recovery services they need.

“As the opioid epidemic continues to destroy lives throughout Staten Island and the entire country, we must have every resource available to combat this national health and safety crisis,” District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said, “I am proud to join Rep. Rose and others in calling for increased SAMSHA funding for drug treatment and prevention efforts. While there is no magic bullet to solve this crisis, our combined efforts across law enforcement, government, and the health community continue to have a positive impact in the lives of so many struggling with substance abuse. Quite simply, without this funding to support these vital programs, more lives will be lost to this national tragedy and that is unacceptable.”

“Since its formation in 2014, Staten Island Performing Provider System (SI PPS) has become a national model for how to mobilize community partners using data-driven strategic intelligence to significantly turn the tide in mortality and access to treatment,” said Dr. Joseph Conte, executive director of SI PPS. “Our ability to expand the system of care responsible for these collaborations with law enforcement, community-based organizations and local governmental units are severely limited by lack of funds to scale and replicate this approach. The PPS is proud to join Rep. Rose in calling for increased SAMSHA funding for prevention, drug treatment, workforce expansion and analytic strategies to promote early intervention to end this national scourge.”

“With concern of a potential fiscal cliff that would disrupt the flow of resources specifically dedicated to the opioid crisis, we ask that you continue funding for these grants to address opioid addiction and overdose. These dollars have saved lives, and a continued investment in these grants is critical during this ongoing crisis. We urge you to provide the highest possible funding level for SAMHSA in FY 2020,” wrote Rose and 53 of his colleagues in a letter to leadership of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, which overseas funding for the agency. “Programs administered by SAMHSA play a critical role in ensuring that Americans get the substance use services that they need, and increased investments in SAMHSA will ultimately lead to more lives saved, and a healthier population.”

Rose has made combating the opioid epidemic and raising awareness around the disease of addiction a top priority. At a Homeland Security hearing earlier this month, Rose confirmed with the Secretary of Homeland Security that the vast majority of illegal drugs, including heroin and fentanyl, are smuggled across the border through ports of entry and through the mail, not between ports where border walls would be built. Additionally, Rose was joined by a Staten Island mother who lost her son to the opioid epidemic as his guest for the State of the Union.

Full text of the letter HERE.