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Baldwin Votes to Boost Mental Health Support and Take on the Fentanyl and Opioid Epidemic

2023 omnibus bill includes key elements of Baldwin bills that increase access to overdose reversal drugs, boost the 988 suicide lifeline, and provide resources for opioid epidemic response

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin voted for a much-needed investment in resources to address the mental health crisis and substance use epidemic. Included in the 2023 fiscal year appropriations bill that President Biden signed into law were key provisions from Senator Baldwin’s bills that increase local communities’ access to life-saving overdose reversal drugs, boost resources for Wisconsin to better combat the opioid and substance use disorder epidemic, and strengthen the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

“Many of our family, friends, and neighbors are struggling with mental health challenges or are in a crisis, and we need to do everything we can to help them. This legislation delivers the needed resources to support youth who are experiencing mental health issues, strengthen our widely used three-digit suicide lifeline, and help Wisconsinites get the care they need,” said Senator Baldwin. “Opioids and fentanyl continue to touch every community across Wisconsin and we must do more to help our local communities combat it. I voted for this legislation because it delivers support from Washington to Wisconsin to combat the opioid and fentanyl epidemic and increase access to substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.”

Mental Health
Key provisions of Senator Baldwin-led legislation to address the mental health crisis were included in the 2023 federal appropriations bill, including:

  • 988 Coordination and Improvement Act: The bill establishes a coordinating office to collaborate with partners and assist communities in developing crisis care systems and establishing nationwide best practices to respond to calls. This comes as the Lifeline received over 1.7 million calls, texts, and chats in its first five months, nearly half a million more than the old 10-digit Suicide Prevention Lifeline fielded during the same period the year before. Senator Baldwin led the bipartisan legislation to establish 988 hotline. 
  • Anna Westin Legacy Act:  The bill authorizes the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders to provide training and technical assistance to health care workers, teachers, and parents on how to identify eating disorders and support patients in recovery.

Senator Baldwin worked to secure and support significant investments to improve mental health access and the nation’s system of crisis care, including:

  • $501.6 million in fiscal year 2023 funding for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline to successfully transition to 988;
  • $111 million for Department of Education programs designed to increase the availability of mental health services in schools, including by expanding training programs to prepare new school counselors, social workers, and psychologists;
  • $140 million for Project AWARE, which will expand efforts to identify and help children and youth in need of mental health care, including through addressing the needs of children who have experienced trauma;
  • $1.01 billion for the Mental Health Block Grant;
  • $385 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics;
  • $20 million to expand a pilot program for crisis response; and
  • $130 million for Children’s Mental Health Services.

Opioid Epidemic and Substance Use
Key provisions of Senator Baldwin-led bills to address the opioid and fentanyl crisis and substance use disorder were included in the 2023 federal appropriations legislation, including:

  • State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act: Authorizes significant funding for communities to better combat the opioid and substance use disorder epidemic through a flexible grant program. For fiscal year 2023, the bill provides $1.6 billion for states and Tribes.
  • Naloxone Access and Education Act: Reauthorizes grants that provide funding for states and Tribal entities to promote education, dispensing, and distribution of the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drugs.

Senator Baldwin worked to secure and support investments to combat substance use and treat substance use disorder, including:

  • $100 million increase for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant;
  • $111 million for medication-assisted treatment;
  • $505 million for opioid overdose surveillance and prevention at CDC;
  • $80 million to address the needs of children affected by the opioid crisis; and
  • $145 million to help affected rural communities.

An online version of this release is available here.