WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Annie Kuster (D-NH), David Trone (D-MD), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), founders and co-chairs of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, released the following statement on new data showing that a record number of Americans died of an overdose in 2020.
“Our hearts go out to the families, friends, and loved ones of the more than 93,000 Americans who died of a drug overdose in 2020. Today’s heartbreaking news of the record number of overdose deaths that took place in the United States last year illustrates the critical importance of our work to implement solutions to prevent substance use disorder, expand access to treatment, and save lives.
“We are only beginning to learn the magnitude of our nation’s mental health and addiction crises in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s paramount that we continue to dedicate resources to fighting these epidemics. As co-chairs, we will continue to promote legislation that seeks to educate, boost investments, and address the lack of necessary medical resources for those suffering from opioid or substance use disorders. Today’s news reminds us that much more work remains to be done. Americans need help and they need it now.”
The Task Force thus far has worked to incorporate more funding into the budget through many bipartisan programs such as:
• State Opioid Response Grants - $2B, up from $1.5B in FY21
• Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grants - $2.9B, up from $1.9B
• Community Mental Health Services Block Grant - $1.6B, up from $758M
• Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women - $49M, up from $33M
The Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force hosted its first roundtable in April, entitled, “Dual Crisis: COVID-19 and Substance Use Disorder.” The Members heard from substance use experts and discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the ongoing addiction crisis across the country.