Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander on Wednesday released the following statement after 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 Senator Alexander sponsored and President Obama signed into law last year:
“Last year, Leader McConnell called 21st Century Cures ‘the most important legislation of the year,’ and today’s announcement – nearly $14 million to help fight Tennessee’s ongoing opioid epidemic – is just one example of the real help this bill is delivering to Tennessee families,” Sen. Alexander said. “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. on Wednesday, 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. Sen. Alexander was the chief Senate sponsor of the 21st Century Cures Act, along with Senator Patty Murray (D-Wa.).