SANTA FE― U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District applauded the announcement by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell that New Mexico will receive $2,604,223 to help combat the drug crisis.
He also reiterated his call for Congress to take further action to provide robust resources that help turn the tide against the opioid epidemic. Luján has led the effort in the House of Representatives to introduce legislation that reflects President Obama’s budget request of $1.1 billion for prevention, treatment, and recovery.
“These resources for New Mexico’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic are welcome news, and every dollar is critical to our work to prevent more lives from being lost to this crisis,” Luján said. “The sad fact remains, however, that much more must be done if we are going to make significant progress and ensure that all those who want help can get help. Unless Congress commits more resources to this fight, we will continue to see too many people in our community lost to the devastating impacts of drug use. I am disappointed that House Republicans blocked my efforts to include robust funding in opioid legislation, and I will continue to call for much-needed action to provide the resources that can save lives.”
The announcement of funding for New Mexico and 43 other states, four tribes, and the District of Columbia is part of $53 million for state programs, with $22.5 million aimed at preventing overdoses, $11 million to expand access to medication assisted treatment, and $9 million to programs targeting the misuse of prescription drugs. Resources for prevention include funding to buy naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses and to improve drug screening, toxicology, and prescription drug monitoring programs.
As a sponsor of the Medicare Part D Patient Safety and Drug Abuse Prevention Act, which allows Medicare prescription drug plans to develop safe prescribing and dispensing programs to prevent fraud and abuse in the dispensing of controlled substances, Luján has been a strong advocate to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs. As a member of the conference committee on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, Luján fought for greater investments for treatment, prevention and recovery.