Marshall joins bipartisan group of colleagues to lead rural opioid and addiction fight
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Last week, Congressman Roger Marshall joined Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) as she introduced the Addiction Recovery for Rural Communities (ARRC) Act, a bipartisan bill that will help rural communities bolster their efforts to fight the opioid and addiction epidemic.
“We in Congress have a responsibility to provide our rural communities with the resources necessary to fight opioid abuse,” Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D., said. “Across Kansas, organizations are doing the important work of helping people escape addition and find hope – it is my goal to aid those groups in this ongoing fight."
Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Luther Strange (R-AL) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) also introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
The following is from Congresswoman Busto's release on the issue:
In 2015, more than 50,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, which are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. This addiction crisis – particularly for heroin, opioids and prescription drugs – has been even more pronounced in rural America. In fact, drug-related deaths are nearly 50 percent higher in rural areas. But too often, rural communities lack the much-needed health care infrastructure to address this crisis.
That’s why the Addiction Recovery for Rural Communities Act would help rural Americans better leverage United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development programs to combat opioid and heroin use. Specifically, the legislation would set aside 20 percent of the USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program grant funding for substance abuse treatment. It would also prioritize USDA Community and Facilities Direct Loan and Grant applications focused on substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services – which will help incentivize the establishment of new treatment centers. Finally, it will prioritize USDA Rural Health and Safety Education grant funding for applicants seeking to improve education and outreach on opioids and other substance abuse issues.
“Rural communities in the Heartland are facing an addiction epidemic, and Congress must give them the resources they need to fight back,” Congresswoman Cheri Bustos said. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure that folks in small towns have access to the health care, education and tools they need to combat the drug abuse and overdoses that are devastating too many of our families and communities. The heroin and opioid epidemic knows no boundaries, and I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for joining me to address this pressing issue.”
“Our rural communities have been hardest hit by the opioid crisis,” said Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. “NRHA supports the Addiction Recovery for Rural Communities Act because it will allow rural communities that have been devastated by opioid addiction to receive prevention and treatment programs locally.”