Democrats Ask Drug Policy Office to Do More to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Twenty Democratic senators are asking the Office of National Drug Control Policy to do more to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the Associated Press.
The state grants portion of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (SDFS) may not be quite dead, but the prevention grants program is definitely on death row after the full House Appropriations Committee voted to eliminate the $295-million program while adding some funding for SDFS national grants.
The bill passed July 17 by the committee adds $54 million to the SDFS national grants program, according to a summary provided by the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), but zeroes out the state grants that are awarded on a formula basis to schools across the country.
The bill now goes to the full House for consideration before being reconciled with the Senate's budget plan, which is still in committee but is scheduled for markup next week.
The legislation also level-funds the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant at $1.778 billion and adds $45 million to the budget of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, while cutting nearly $1 million from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention budget, although the appropriation did exceed the Obama administration's request for CSAP by $1.75 million.
NASADAD noted that the block grant funding was not tied to performance measures as proposed last year by the Bush administration, and will continue to be awarded on a formula basis to states.
Also receiving budget increases were the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), each of which would receive more money in FY2010 than they did this year or would have under the president's budget proposal.
Within the CSAT budget, the House committee voted to allocate $58.8 million for drug courts, up $35 million from FY2009 and matching the Obama administration request. Of this amount, $5 million would be earmarked for serving families affected by methamphetamine abuse through Family Dependency Treatment Drug Courts. The committee also increased funding for ex-offender reentry programs from $15 million last year to $23.2 million in FY2010.
At CSAP, the House voted to eliminate the $1.774 million methamphetamine prevention grants program, which Obama would have retained. An equal amount of money was shifted to the broader Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant program. The House also authorized spending $1 million on a state-by-state report on underage drinking as called for by last year's STOP Act.
NIDA and NIAAA received increases of $37 million and $11 million, respectively.