Bilirakis Coauthors Legislation to Improve Transparency and Ensure Addiction Funding is Effectively Spent
Washington, D.C. – This morning, Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Reps. Harley Rouda (D-CA) , Tim Burchett (R-TN), David Trone (D-MD), Ben McAdams, (D-UT), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Lori Trahan (D-MA), Peter King (R-NY), and David Joyce (R-OH) introduced H.R. 3820, the Effective Drug Control Strategy Act.
The Effective Drug Control Strategy Act would require the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to evaluate the efficacy of federal-funded initiatives aimed at reducing demand for illicit substances, and publish information online on these initiatives in a central location that would permit watch dogs, the press, and the public at large to hold the government accountable for addressing the opioid crisis. Monitoring and evaluation of this kind is not required by law at this time.
“I am proud of the ongoing work we are doing to combat the addiction crisis that has impacted millions of families across our nation, and many within my local community. In addition to passing landmark, comprehensive legislation to tackle this complex problem, we allocated record levels of funding to help communities meet the needs of those who are struggling. In total, Congress has allocated over $10.7 billion to address opioid addiction since 2018. And, we are finally seeing results. It is now being reported that overdose deaths are likely to fall for the first time since 1990, which is great news. However, we still have work to do, which is why I am proud to join my colleagues in co-authoring legislation which will implement one of the findings from the Bipartisan Presidential Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Specifically, our new legislation will implement a tracking system for the dollars that have and continue to be allocated for this important cause in order to ensure that the funds are being use effectively. This is just good common sense as we strive to be good stewards of tax dollars, and the added accountability is one way that we can make sure resources end up in the hands of those who need them most,” said Congressman Bilirakis.
Said Rouda, “This year, as many as three times as many Americans could die from a drug overdose as they did before the great recession: Americans will lose close to 70,000 friends and loved ones this year because of the crisis, and no community is unaffected. Yet, the federal government doesn’t properly monitor or evaluate the programs aimed at curbing substance abuse. I am proud to lead this small but significant step with my friends on both sides of the aisle, and urge my colleagues to join us in taking action to combat the addiction crisis.”
Said Burchett, “The opioid epidemic is devastating communities across our country, and we need to make sure all federal efforts to address this issue are coordinated and tracked. I’m happy to support this bipartisan legislation, which stems from President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Proper oversight will confirm these programs are doing what they promise and ensure our federal agencies are coordinating efforts to get the best possible outcomes.”
"We need to be addressing all angles of the addiction crisis in this country, and that includes robust prevention and treatment programs," said Trone, founder of the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction. "By better tracking and reviewing the resources committed by the federal government, we can increase coordination and ensure that we're having the maximum impact possible. 192 people are dying every day, and we owe it to the American people to do all we can to stop this."
Said McAdams, “This public health crisis demands that we are closing monitoring federally-funded opioid reduction initiatives, including treatment and prevention programs. We want every dollar spent to contribute to the best outcomes and to help reduce the numbers of those who are addicted to, and are dying from, opioids,”
Said Johnson, “Our government is operating blindly in our efforts to combat the addiction epidemic. A system that monitors federally-funded substance abuse initiatives would fix that. Our efforts to combat this crisis across communities should be deliberate and effective, this legislation will ensure that what we are doing to solve the problem is actually working.”