WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (NM-3) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1) participated in a meeting at the White House June 15 with members of the President’s Cabinet to discuss the opioid crisis that hurts communities across New Mexico and the need to take action to invest resources in treatment and prevention.
The New Mexico Representatives joined Cecilia Munoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council; Shawn Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy for the important conversation.
The meeting highlighted the immediate need for funding to help ensure that all Americans who want treatment can get it. In his budget, President Obama included a request for $1.1 billion to combat the drug crisis. Rep. Luján has been working with the White House and led the effort to introduce legislation that reflects the President’s call for robust funding. Lujan Grisham is the cosponsor of the bill, along with 96 House Democrats.
“The drug epidemic has taken a heartbreaking toll on communities across New Mexico and all over America, and we all need to be part of the solution. As those on the front lines of this crisis know all too well, there are too few resources available for those battling the disease of addiction,” Luján said, who is also a member of the conference committee that will work to complete drug legislation passed by the House and Senate. “Congress must take action to stem this nation-wide epidemic by investing in prevention, treatments, and recovery, yet so far, House Republicans have stood in the way of efforts to increase funding. The legislation I have introduced to reflect the President’s request would provide much-needed resources that will help those in need and save lives.”
“I appreciate that the Administration recognizes opioid addiction and overdose as a public health crisis, and not a problem for the criminal justice system,” Lujan Grisham said. “New Mexico has struggled with addiction and overdose, partly because our behavioral health infrastructure is non-existent. More than 530 New Mexicans died from drug overdoses in the last year alone. We cannot afford to delay these investments any longer. We must act now to develop and implement a comprehensive approach that includes prevention, rehabilitation and treatment programs.”