Sherrill Leads Bipartisan Bill to Provide States Funding to Fight Opioid Epidemic

Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill

PARSIPPANY — Congresswoman Sherrill jointly introduced a bipartisan bill to provide states funding to fight the opioid epidemic. Alongside Representatives David Trone (D-MD), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), and Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Sherrill unveiled a proposal to authorize $5 billion to extend the State Opioid Response Grant program. The money distributed through these grants has helped to provide additional treatment beds, expand treatment and recovery options, bridge gaps identified in systems of care, support robust prevention campaigns, among other actions taken by the states to address the opioid epidemic.

“I told New Jerseyans that I would find ways to work for commonsense, bipartisan solutions to some of our greatest challenges,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. “New Jersey lost more than 3,000 individuals to overdoses in 2018, and this crisis extends to every corner of our country. I’ve spoken to advocates, patients, healthcare professionals, and law enforcement officers in our community, and the lack of resources constantly comes up as a roadblock to progress in combating the opioid epidemic. Extending the State Opioid Response Grant program will give New Jersey and states across the country resources to address the opioid epidemic over the long term.”

“This crisis affects each and every community across America, and we have to ensure that each state has the resources necessary to combat this tragedy,” said Congressman David Trone (D-MD). “In my first 100 days in office I spoke with health departments, hospitals, first responders, elected officials, police officers, incarcerated individuals, mental health professionals, early childhood organizations, and those suffering from addiction. I heard loud and clear that we need additional and consistent funding to end this crisis. This legislation does just that. I thank Representatives Armstrong, Sherrill, and Riggleman for joining me in this bipartisan effort.”

“As a national leader in opioid reduction and overdose prevention, we applaud the introduction of these grants.  The impact of this funding could be far-reaching, saving thousands of lives each year and going a long way to addressing the opioid epidemic,” says Dr. Mark Rosenberg, Chief of Emergency Medicine at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, NJ and St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center. Dr. Rosenberg developed the Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) program, a highly successful and unique approach to acute pain management without the use of opioids. St. Joseph’s was the first hospital in the country to launch the innovative ALTO program, reducing opioid prescriptions by over 82% in just 2 years.

“While we are seeing success in treatment and prevention in Sussex County, there is so much more to do to help our residents who struggle with addiction,” said Becky Carlson, Director of the Center for Prevention and Counseling in Sussex County. “There isn’t a single easy answer. This crisis requires sustained and creative solutions, from personalized care to education to support for families. As an SOR grant recipient, the Center for Prevention and Counseling knows the critical importance of this program, and the positive impact it’s had in Sussex. I’m glad Representative Sherrill is working with her colleagues to make this a priority.”

Representatives Sherrill, Trone, Armstrong, and Riggleman are members of the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction. Led by Representative Trone, the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction includes more than 50 Members of the newly-elected freshman class from districts across the entire nation. The purpose of the group is to come together to understand the extent of the impacts of addiction and to jointly promote policies to reduce overdoses and deaths.

To read more about the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act, click here.

To watch Congresswoman Sherrill’s full remarks at the press conference this morning, click here.