Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly spoke on the Senate floor today calling on Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to provide the resources and funding necessary to combat the opioid abuse epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control released two new reports this week: the first showing that life expectancy decreased in the United States for the second year in a row; the second, likely the reason for that decrease, showing that more than 63,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2016, a 21% increase over 2015.
To see Donnelly’s speech, click here.
Donnelly said, in part, in his speech, “For most families, the holidays are an opportunity to take a break from our busy lives and enjoy time with the people we love…It’s safe to say, however, that will not be the case for tens of thousands of American families who have lost a loved one this year to a drug overdose…This is a crisis. People are dying in communities across this country every single day. Congress must do much more to address this scourge…I implore my colleagues to make this a priority, to provide the robust and meaningful funding our communities need to meaningfully and seriously address this problem.”
Over the past few years Donnelly has worked effectively to advance legislation to combat this public health crisis. He has introduced seven bills and amendments with seven different Republican partners and several of these provisions are now law. Last year, several of Donnelly’s provisions were signed into law, and he successfully advocated and continues to advocate for funding that would expand prevention and treatment programs. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act, both of which Donnelly helped pass into law, have programs and funding to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics. Through the Cures Act, Donnelly helped Indiana secure nearly $11 million in federal grant funding this year that will support prevention, treatment, and recovery services across the state. Last month, Donnelly’s bipartisan bill to help address veterans’ opioid abuse was signed into law by President Trump.