On Wednesday, April 19, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price announced Tennessee will soon receive nearly $14 million in funding to combat opioid abuse — the first of two rounds of funding to be delivered as part of the 21st Century Cures Act that I sponsored and the president signed into law last year.
Leader McConnell called Cures “the most important legislation of the year,” and this announcement is just one example of the real help this bill is delivering to Tennessee families. Opioid abuse or overdose kills more Tennesseans every year than gunshots or car wrecks, and this funding will send a substantial boost to those on the front lines of a battle that is being waged state by state, county by county, doctor’s office by doctor’s office.
The 21st Century Cures Act that was signed into law last December by President Obama provided $1 billion in grants to states to help fight the opioid epidemic. Today, Secretary Price announced the first round of funding to be delivered to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and six U.S. territories–$485 million in total. States can use the federal grants to improve prescription drug monitoring programs, implement prevention activities, and train health care providers on overdose prevention and recognizing potential cases of substance abuse.
Tennessee ranks the third highest for opioid abuse in the nation with more than 1,000 Tennesseans dying each year as a result of drug overdose. Alexander was the chief Senate sponsor of the 21st Century Cures Act, along with Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-Tenn.) is the senior U.S. senator, former Tennessee governor and former U.S. Secretary of Education for 1991-1993. He chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and also serves on the Committee on Appropriations, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Committee on Rules and Administration. Alexander may be reached at his Washington, D.C., office at (202) 224-4944 or via his website contact page at alexander.senate.gov.