2018-06-07 National Governors Association

Letter Urging Congressional Support on Combatting Opioids

Dear Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi: 

On behalf of the nation’s governors, we write to thank you for your efforts to combat our country’s opioid crisis and urge continued federal action to support ongoing state and local efforts.

Every day governors face the devastating impact of this disease on our communities, health care system, schools and families. We remain dedicated to working on state-based solutions to prevent substance use disorder and ensure appropriate treatment for those battling this disease. We appreciate the support from key legislation, like the 21st Century Cures Act, Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the most recent Omnibus bill, which has empowered states to expand their efforts over this longstanding issue with federal support.

In January, the governors released a set of federal recommendations to combat the opioid crisis. The recommendations reflect significant input from governors and include recommendations on: federal support and coordination, data and information sharing, prevention and early intervention, treatment and recovery and enhancing support for public safety. We are pleased to see that several bills under consideration by the House incorporate our recommendations and we support the principles behind the following bills:

  •  H.R. 5002, ACE Research Act
  •  H.R. 5176, the Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms (POWER) Act
  •  H.R. 5197, the Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO) in the Emergency Department Act
  •  H.R. 5353, the Eliminating Opioid-Related Infectious Diseases Act
  •  H.R. 5580, STOP Fentanyl Deaths Act of 2018
  •  H.R. 5603, Access to Telehealth Services for Opioid Use Disorder
  •  H.R. 5797, IMD CARE Act
  •  H.R. 4005, the Medicaid Reentry Act
  • H.R. 5795, the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act

Governors acknowledge that a comprehensive solution is needed to end this crisis and we appreciate the broad-based approach undertaken by the committees of jurisdiction. We ask that any bills considered by Congress ensure that federal strategies preserve state flexibility allowing governors to meet the specific needs of their state. Governors need increased financial and technical support to address this crisis and we urge Congress to avoid burdensome requirements on state programs.

Continued leadership and collaboration between the federal government and states is essential to reduce the gripping impact of opioids on our nation. In this spirit, we thank Congress for providing support to states to address the opioid crisis and ask that Congress consider extending the duration of federal grants to help states plan and use federal dollars more effectively to address the epidemic. Specifically, we ask you to reauthorize the State Targeted Response Grants created through the 21st Century Cures Act.

We are supportive of Congress’ continued bipartisan work to end this public health crisis and are delighted to work with you as these bills move forward.

Sincerely,

Governor Brian Sandoval, Chair of the National Governors Association

Governor Steve Bullock, Vice Chair of the National Governors Association

Governor Charlie Baker, Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, National Governors Association

Governor Kate Brown, Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, National Governors Association