U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Leads Senate Colleagues in Calling for More Federal Funding to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, led her colleagues in calling for more federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic that is ravaging communities nationwide.

“On average, more than 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose and in 2017, more than 47,000 people died from opioids, including heroin and fentanyl. This represents a 10 percent increase in overdose death rates. Furthermore, overdose death rates linked to synthetic opioids, likely from illicitly manufactured fentanyl, increased more than 45 percent from 2016 to 2017 and many states are also facing increases in other substance use disorders, like methamphetamine abuse,” wrote the Senators in the letter.

“This public health emergency is wreaking wide-ranging health consequences on our children, families are struggling with trauma, and communities are faced with higher rates of related infectious diseases, such as HIV and viral hepatitis. We must do more.”

Wisconsin has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, in 2018 there were more than 300 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths in Milwaukee County alone, and in 2019 that number is expected to grow. Earlier this year, Senator Baldwin announced $6.25 million in federal grant funding that invests in prevention, treatment and recovery in local communities in Wisconsin.

A number of Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan reforms to combat the opioid crisis in Wisconsin have been signed into law, including provisions that will help prevent the flow of illegal fentanyl, opioids and methamphetamine from other countries; extending and expanding investments in local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts; and providing more resources to combat the growing methamphetamine problem in Wisconsin.

The letter to the Chairs of the Senate Appropriations Committee was also signed by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI),

The full letter is available here.