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Heinrich Introduces CARE Act To Bring $29.4 Million Annually To New Mexico To Combat Substance Use Epidemic

WASHINGTON (Dec. 20, 2021) – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined over 100 Democratic Senate and House members to reintroduce the bicameral Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, to fight the substance use disorder crisis, including the use of both opioids and stimulants.

The CARE Act would provide state and local governments with $125 billion in federal funding over ten years, including nearly $1 billion per year directly to Tribal governments and organizations. New Mexico would receive an estimated $29.4 million annually, with nearly $16.5 million in state formula grants and $12.9 million distributed among the counties.

“The opioid epidemic has left too many New Mexicans with the heavy burden of seeking treatment and recovery resources – many that are too often underfunded,” said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “I’m proud to support the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, which will support our state, Tribal, and local governments to address the substance use disorder crisis, including the opioid epidemic.” 

Last year, approximately 275 Americans died each day from a drug overdose while the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated our nation’s mental health and substance use disorder crises. According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that more than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses between May 2020 and May 2021, an increase of more than 20 percent over the previous year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 40.3 million people reported suffering from substance use disorder in the past year. Despite the critical need for substance use disorder services, only about 6.5% of those in need of specialty treatment for substance use disorders were able to access it in 2020.

The CARE Act would provide $125 billion over ten years to fight this crisis, including:

  • $4.6 billion per year to states, territories, and Tribal governments, including $2.3 billion to states with the highest levels of overdoses and $1.84 billion through competitive grants;
  • $3.3 billion per year to the hardest hit counties and cities, including $1.75 billion to counties and cities with the highest levels of overdoses and $1.22 billion through competitive grants;
  • $2 billion per year for public health surveillance, biomedical research, and improved training for health professionals, including $1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $500 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and regional Tribal epidemiology centers, and $500 million to train and provide technical assistance to professionals treating substance use disorders;
  • $1.6 billion per year to support expanded and innovative service delivery, including $1 billion for public and nonprofit entities, $500 million for projects of national significance that provide treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services, $50 million to help workers with or at risk for substance use disorders maintain and gain employment, and $50 million to expand treatment provider capacity;
  • $1 billion per year to expand access to overdose reversal drugs (Naloxone) and provide this life-saving medicine to states for distribution to first responders, public health departments, and the public. 

Of the total funding, the CARE Act would invest nearly $1 billion a year provided directly to Tribal governments and organizations, including:

  • $790 million per year for grants to Tribal governments to help fight this crisis and invest in substance use prevention and treatment;
  • $7.5 million in additional funding for tribal nations and regional Tribal epidemiology centers to improve data collection on overdoses;
  • $50 million a year to Tribal Colleges and Universities, Indian Health Service-funded organizations, and medical training programs that partner with Tribal nations and Tribal organizations to train Native health professionals to improve substance use disorder treatment services;
  • $150 million a year in funding to Native non-profits and clinics, including to urban Indian organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations, and projects designed to test innovative service delivery and culturally-informed care models to tackle addiction; 

The substance use disorder crisis is devastating communities across the nation — but it has a particularly severe impact on Native people. CDC data show that drug overdose death rates for American Indians and Alaska Natives living in nonmetropolitan areas increased by 500% between 1999 and 2015, with American Indians and Alaska Natives suffering a greater increase in deaths over those years compared to any other demographic. And in 2019, American Indians and Alaska Natives had a higher drug overdose death rate than any other demographic (30 per 100,000). Yet, it is known that overdose deaths of Native people are under-reported.

In spite of the harm that the opioid crisis brings to American Indian and Alaska Native communities, Tribal governments — which are often required to work with state governments in order to obtain federal funds — have struggled to access the resources they need to combat the epidemic. The CARE Act would provide nearly $1 billion per year directly to Tribal governments and organizations to address this crisis.

The legislation is led by U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), , and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and over 96 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. 

The legislation has been endorsed by over 175 national, local, and Tribal organizations.