Congressman Tim Ryan Fights to Increase Heroin Funding in House Budget

Mar 17, 2016 Issues: Protecting Reproductive Health

Washington DC – Congressman Tim Ryan yesterday offered an amendment during the House Budget Committee Fiscal Year 17 Budget Markup to help prevent prescription drug and heroin abuse – providing $1 billion in mandatory funding over two years to ensure that Americans are able to access treatment for prescription opioid abuse and heroin use. Despite overwhelming support for addressing our nation’s growing heroin epidemic, every single Republican member of the Budget Committee voted against Congressman Ryan’s amendment.

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There is an opioid epidemic in the United States.  According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 29,000 Americans—or 78 people each day—died from opioid-involved drug overdoses in 2014. The amendment provides $1 billion in mandatory funding for the President’s two-year initiative to prevent prescription opioid and heroin abuse by expanding access to treatment.  The initiative includes: 

  • $920 million over two years for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) to fund cooperative agreements with states to improve the availability of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders.  States will receive funds based on the severity of the epidemic and on the strength of their strategy to respond to it.  States can then use these funds to expand treatment capacity and make services more affordable.
  • $30 million over two years to SAMSHA to assess the effectiveness of treatment programs employing medication-assisted treatment under real-world conditions and help identify opportunities to improve treatment for patients with opioid use disorders.
  • $50 million over two years to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to expand access to substance use treatment providers through the National Health Service Corps.  This funding will help support approximately 700 providers to provide substance use disorder treatment services—including medication-assisted treatment—in areas across the country most in need of behavioral health providers.

This increased funding is offset by an equal amount of revenue from reducing tax expenditures for the top one percent of income earners, or from reducing unjustified corporate tax breaks, including special depreciation for corporate jets, loopholes that allow inversions and encourage firms to ship jobs/capital overseas and shelter their profits in foreign tax havens, the “carried interest” loophole that allows hedge fund managers to disguise their compensation as capital gains, tax subsidies for the major integrated oil companies, or corporate deductions for CEO bonuses and other excessive executive compensation exceeding $1 million per year.