U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon-Dem) on Wednesday announced billions of new dollars in Congress’ final spending bill to combat the opioid crisis that has reached every corner of Oregon and the nation.
“The opioid crisis will require a multi-pronged approach, and one important piece is cutting off the flow of narcotics into the country,” Merkley said. “I have heard heart-wrenching stories from Oregonians who have lost loved ones after a prescription for an injury or treatment turned into an addiction. Getting the FDA the resources to police the medications coming in will save lives.”
As the top Democrat on the Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee, Merkley helped write the portion of the massive 2018 spending bill funding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bill provides $94 million to be used by the FDA to step up its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic by investing in better identifying and targeting firms and organizations importing into the U.S.; increasing the staff inspecting packages and the number of packages being inspected; increasing criminal investigation resources; upgrading equipment to screen imported products; and upgrading a forensic laboratory to accommodate increased activity.
In addition, Merkley has successfully pushed for over $2.6 billion in increased funding for treatment, prevention and research programs within the Department of Health and Human Services to combat the opioid crisis.