Published October 6, 2018
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, joined the full Senate in voting to pass the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which will combat the opioid epidemic and includes a number of key tribal provisions.
Vice Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Tom Udall – D – New Mexico
“I am proud of the work we have done to ensure Tribes and tribal communities were at the table and included in this opioid package,” Udall said. “Substance abuse has had devastating impacts on communities across New Mexico, Indian Country, and the entire United States. This bill – which gives Tribes the resources to build treatment and prevention solutions that reflect their unique needs – is an important step towards enabling all communities to work collaboratively to destigmatize addiction, deliver effective treatment, and save lives.”
The legislation, which the Senate approved by a vote of 98-1, now heads to the President’s desk for signature. Key tribal provisions in the legislation include:
- Creates a 5% Tribal set-aside within the 21st Century Cures Act Opioid Response Grants and gives Tribes additional flexibility to use funding address additional substance use disorders, like methamphetamine addiction, specific to their communities;
- Creates a 3% Tribal set-aside within the Plans for Safe Care Programs to support Tribal efforts to address maternal and infant health issues resulting from substance abuse disorders;
- Expands Tribal access to grant resources for development of recovery centers, prescription drug monitoring systems, overdose surveillance, youth addiction prevention programs, and job training and treatment services for those affected by substance use disorders;
- Ensures the Office of National Drug Control Policy consults with Tribes in development of the national drug control strategy; and
- Directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to include Tribes in its efforts to analyze substance abuse data and childhood trauma through grants, training, and technical assistance.
Udall has worked with colleagues on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and in the Senate throughout the 115th Congress to ensure Tribes and Native communities are included in national efforts to address the opioids crisis.
His efforts include a letter urging the Senate to prioritize direct funding for Tribes to address the opioid epidemic, convening a roundtable with tribal leaders and administrative offices in November 2017, leading an oversight hearing on the topic in March 2018, sponsoring legislation like the Native Behavioral Health Access Improvement Act, and securing funding for a new tribal substance abuse pilot program at the Indian Health Service to provide greater resources to Tribes addressing substance abuse issues.