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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday night, the Senate passed bipartisan opioid crisis response legislation, which includes a number of reforms by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, by a vote of 99-1. 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.
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, including provisions to help prevent the flow of illegal fentanyl and opioids from other countries, to extend and expand investments in local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts, and to 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 that Washington must do more to be a stronger partner 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 is 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.”
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.
Senator Baldwin also worked to include provisions from her Opioid Response Enhancement Act to expand and extend the Opioid State Targeted Response Grant program to provide states and tribal communities more resources to address the epidemic. The grant program was established as part of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act that Senator Baldwin worked to pass in Congress. Earlier this year, Senator Baldwin led the effort to include an additional $1 billion for this program to fight the opioid epidemic in the FY2018 omnibus spending bill signed by President Trump.
Senator Baldwin also worked to provide states with more flexibility in using this funding so Wisconsin will be able to put it to work to address the growing problem of methamphetamine abuse in our state. Major provisions of Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan Eliminating Opioid-Related Infectious Diseases Act are also included in the Opioid Crisis Response Act.