WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) helped secure $6 billion over the next two years to address the opioid epidemic, along with a two-year funding extension for Community Health Centers (CHCs), in the bipartisan budget agreement announced Feb. 7.
Brown met with Ohio CHCs and joined colleague U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in a bipartisan letter requesting that funding for CHCs be part of the next government funding bill.
Congress will now negotiate the most effective ways to allocate the additional opioid dollars. Brown is calling for states like Ohio that are disproportionately hit by the opioid epidemic to be prioritized in allocating these dollars and called for the funding of his INTERDICT Act, which was signed into law to provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with additional hi-tech screening equipment and lab resources to detect fentanyl before it enters the U.S.
“The commitment to invest $6 billion over the next two years is a good start for Ohio communities in desperate need of resources to battle the opioid epidemic. But we know there is more work to be done,” Brown said.
“As Congress distributes these resources, I’ll be pushing my colleagues to prioritize Ohio and other states who’ve been hardest hit by this public health crisis. It is also critical we back up the INTERDICT Act with real dollars to get law enforcement the tools to keep deadly opioids out of the country.”
Funding for Community Health Centers expired on Sept. 30, 2017. The bill announced today would extend funding for CHCs for two years. According to the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, Ohio is home to 51 CHCs with nearly 300 locations, serving more than 700,000 Ohioans.
“Every time I meet with Community Health Centers from Ohio they tell me they need Congress to give them the certainty to keep their doors open to patients, run their businesses and support local jobs,” said Brown.
“This bipartisan agreement is good news to the dozens of Health Centers across the state and the thousands of Ohioans who rely on them to get checkups or to get well when they’re sick.”