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Gardner Applauds HHS Allowing for State Flexibility with Opioid Grants

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar applauding HHS’s work to expand flexibility within opioid grant funding in order to provide resources for states and communities to address the rising threat of methamphetamine and other psychostimulants like cocaine.

“Each year I host a Colorado Farm Tour, during which I travel to different rural areas in the state and learn about what problems our communities are facing. While much of the national conversation is still focused on the treatment and prevention of opioid addiction, the main concern I heard from local law enforcement and community leaders was actually meth,” Senator Gardner wrote. “To ensure law enforcement agencies are equipped to combat meth production, last year, I led efforts to secure increased funding for the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP) for a total of $13 million. While this funding is critical to ensure our law enforcement preparedness, it is equally important that there is also robust funding for the public health response.”

“It is critical that states and local governments are able to use grant funding in a way that will serve what the actual greatest need is, not what Washington assumes they need. Flexible funding ensures that communities can be responsive to the situation on the ground, and we must continue to locate and address areas in which Washington bureaucracy stands in the way of the public health response,” Senator Gardner wrote. 

Every year states receive a funding allocation from the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program. In prior years, the funding from this program was restricted to focus on the opioid crisis. As the threat from psychostimulants like methamphetamine has grown, Congress acted with Senator Gardner’s support in the 2020 government funding bill to eliminate those restrictions. Following this action, HHS has worked to expand flexibility within opioid grant funding. This year it will now be possible for states and communities to address the rising threat of methamphetamines and other psychostimulants with the $1.5 billion in federal funding allocated for fiscal year 2020.

Gardner’s full letter to Secretary Azar is available here.

Senator Gardner has made it a priority to fight the rise of substance abuse in Colorado:

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

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