In 2020, drug overdose was the leading cause of premature death for Georgians
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s bipartisan bill to prevent and treat opioid addiction is now law.
Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), which was signed into law today, will help rural communities experiencing a high level of opioid overdoses respond to the crisis.
The bipartisan law will surge federal dollars to provide rural communities with the support they need to combat the epidemic and prevent addiction.
“Like so many Georgians, I’ve lost friends to the opioid epidemic. My bipartisan law will fund efforts to prevent and treat addiction and save lives. I brought Republicans and Democrats together to address the opioid crisis,” Sen. Ossoff said.
“Today’s signing of the Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act is a critical step forward in our ongoing effort to curb the opioid crisis. This new law will help communities in Iowa and across the country handle any surge in opioid overdoses and prevent more Americans from falling victim to addiction,” Sen. Grassley said.
The bipartisan law will identify current gaps in prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those who interact with the criminal justice system in rural areas and establish new efforts to address the opioid crisis in that community.
Congressman Conor Lamb (D-PA-17) and Congressman Randy Feenstra (R-IA-04) introduced companion bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives last year.
Leading national health and law enforcement agencies praised of Sens. Ossoff and Grassley’s law:
“The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) is proud to support the Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act introduced by Senator Ossoff (D-GA) and Senator Grassley (R-IA). This legislation will help rural communities across the nation receive grant funding to reduce opioid deaths by formalizing the Department of Justice Rural Responses to the Opioid Epidemic Initiative. As the opioid epidemic continues to worsen, it is critical that the federal government continues to invest in successful programs that help save lives, particularly in rural areas,” said Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association.
“The opioid epidemic in rural America is unprecedented in our history. Many lives have been lost and families torn apart. Rural and tribal communities across our country continue to struggle with this epidemic and the COVID pandemic has made the drug overdose epidemic worse. Rural and tribal law enforcement are dealing with an increase in overdoses from illicit fentanyl, prescription opioids and heroin. Passing the Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act would provide resources to help rural communities combat opioid overdoses and provide alternatives to incarceration. This bill is in the best interest of small and rural enforcement agencies and we look forward to its passage,” the Small & Rural Law Enforcement Executives’ Association said.
“A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) fully supports the Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act. It is critical that we support rural communities in addressing opioid overdoses, especially during the pandemic. Too many people are at high risk of overdose, and there are concerning gaps in treatment and recovery services, especially for people with substance use disorders who become entangled in the criminal justice system,” A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) wrote.
“From housing to transportation and employment training, there is a significant gap in recovery support services in rural communities. Yet, there are also strong assets in rural America for local leaders to tap in building these supports. We urge Congress to enact the Rural Area Opioid Prevention Program Act to sustain the vital efforts to reduce overdose in high-risk rural areas and create opportunities for more individuals and families to achieve long-term recovery from addiction,” said Patty McCarthy, Chief Executive Officer, Faces & Voices of Recovery.
“We are happy to support the permanent creation of this program which provides rural communities with funding to adopt public health-based approaches to reduce overdoses,” the Partnership to End Addiction said. “Additional substance use and addiction resources are desperately needed in all communities but particularly in rural communities where services and resources are lacking. We hope this program will help to reduce the devastation of opioid overdoses on individuals and their families in rural communities.