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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Sen. Baldwin backed opioid crisis response legislation passes Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Senate passed the final version of bipartisan opioid crisis response legislation (H.R.6) that includes a number of reforms championed by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 will: reduce use and supply; encourage recovery; support caregivers and families; and drive innovation and long-term solutions. The legislation now heads to President Trump for his signature.
As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Baldwin authored a number of reforms included in the bipartisan legislation. Senator Baldwin worked to include provisions that will help prevent the flow of illegal fentanyl, opioids and methamphetamine from other countries; extend and expand investments in local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts; and provide more resources to combat the growing methamphetamine problem in Wisconsin.

“I’ve met with local health officials, law enforcement and those who have lost loved ones throughout Wisconsin, and it’s clear Washington must do more to be a stronger partner in supporting local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts,” said Senator Baldwin. “In Wisconsin, we have seen a growing problem of methamphetamine abuse in our state and a spike in fentanyl overdose deaths. That’s why I have worked to provide more resources and flexibility to help Wisconsin fight this epidemic, and to stop the flow of illicit drugs, like fentanyl, meth and illegal opioids, coming from other countries into America. This bipartisan legislation is an important step forward and will help provide Wisconsin the tools we need to save lives.”

Prevent the flow of illegal fentanyl, opioids, and meth from other countries
The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 includes a bipartisan reform introduced by Senator Baldwin that would help stop the flow of illegal opioids, fentanyl, methamphetamine and other illicit drugs into the country through International Mail Facilities. The Restricting Entrance and Strengthening the Requirements on Import Controls for Trafficking (RESTRICT) Illicit Drugs Act, introduced with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), would give the FDA more tools to prevent illegal fentanyl, opioids and other illicit synthetic drugs from entering the country at the border through our International Mail Facilities.

Recently, communities across Wisconsin have seen dramatic increases in illicit fentanyl overdoses. According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, in 2018 there have already been 177 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths and 106 confirmed fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Milwaukee County.

Stronger support for local prevention, treatment and recovery effort
Earlier this year, Senator Baldwin led the effort to include an additional $1 billion in the FY2018 omnibus spending bill signed by President Trump for the Opioid State Targeted Response Grant this program.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 includes provisions from Baldwin’s Opioid Response Enhancement Act to expand and extend the Opioid State Targeted Response Grant program to provide states and tribal communities more resources for local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. The grant program was established as part of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act that Senator Baldwin worked to pass in Congress.

More resources for growing meth problem in Wisconsin
Senator Baldwin has held roundtable dialogues across the state with law enforcement, first responders, health officials and community leaders where she has learned about the growing problem of methamphetamine abuse in Wisconsin.

In response, Senator Baldwin worked to include a reform in the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 that would provide states with more flexibility in using federal funding so Wisconsin will be able to put it to work to address the growing meth problem in our state. 

An online version of this release is available here.

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