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COLUMN — Opioid Grant Act passes House unanimously

I am proud to announce that earlier this week, my original bill, H.R. 2466, the State Opioid Grant Authorization Act of 2020, passed the House of Representatives with unanimous support.

This bill is a big step forward in combating the opioid addiction crisis in our country, which affects more than 2 million Americans. The legislation authorizes $9 billion dollars over six years in flexible funding for State Opioid Response (SOR) Grants and Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) Grants. These grants help thousands of Americans every year by prioritizing addiction prevention, treatment and recovery. The bipartisan bill must now be passed by the U.S. Senate before heading to the president’s desk for signature.

Before the legislation passed the House of Representatives, I went to the floor of the House to urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support my crucial bill to combat this deadly crisis. 

Combatting the opioid epidemic has been one of my top priorities during my time in Congress. In February 2019, I joined the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction, a bipartisan group committed to promoting policies that will help end the opioid crisis in the United States. The coalition meets on a regular basis to hear from experts and stakeholders, make site visits to institutions focusing on research and treatment, and to promote actionable legislation. In June 2019, the Freshman Working Group on Addiction announced $1.5 billion in funding for SOR Grants and TOR Grants that was included in the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill. 

The State Opioid Grant Authorization Act of 2020 is the next logical step in ensuring that these SOR and TOR programs are funded through the next five years. I am proud to be a leader in the federal response to confront the opioid addiction crisis that impacts so many families around the nation, including my own. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction, call the National Drug Helpline: (844) 289-0879 for free, confidential guidance and support 24 hours a day.

If you need help with a federal agency, please contact my Charlottesville Office at (434) 973-9631. Tours of the White House have resumed with adapted operations as a result of COVID-19. Please note that all Smithsonian museums are closing again starting on Nov. 23 in response to rising coronavirus cases. Tours of the Library of Congress, U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court have been suspended to help contain the coronavirus outbreak. Please continue to stay safe and follow local guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Denver Riggleman represents Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached by visiting https://riggleman.house.gov/ or by phone at (434) 973-9631.