WASHINGTON >> U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., announced Thursday that the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee passed $34 billion in funding for mental health and substance use treatment to help address the opioid crisis in the United States.
Murphy, a member of the Appropriations committee, applauded the funding, according to a release from his office. Murphy is the co-author of the Mental Health Reform Act, which would address the country’s opioids crisis by providing funding for treatment and preventative care. The release said Murphy helped secure the funding as part of the 2017 fiscal year budget of the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies appropriation bill.
Murphy said in the release that whether it’s a relative, a neighbor or a friend, nearly everyone knows someone affected by addiction or mental illness.
“In Connecticut, we’ve seen more than 700-drug related deaths just last year but treatment centers continue to have waiting lists and individuals looking for help have nowhere to turn to,” Murphy said in the release. “There’s much more to be done, but today the Senate took a powerful step today by committing real federal dollars to expand treatment and prevention programs – a step that will save lives and help restore hope for the millions of families across this country battling substance abuse and mental illness.”
The funding is a $2 billion increase over the current fiscal year. The money will help fund the National Institute of Health’s medical research at schools like UConn and Yale.
According to the release, the $34 billion in funding will help provide $1.5 billion for community health centers across the country, including $100 million in funding to help health centers that treat undeserved areas expand their services.
At least $26 million of the funding is dedicated to help prevent opioid overdoses, $14 million more than the current fiscal year. The money will be used to help states buy emergency response devices that help immediately reverse the effects of opioids.
-Esteban L. Hernandez, New Haven Register