WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act by a vote of 99 to 1. U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) voted in support of the legislation, which would help states and local communities address the growing opioid epidemic.

“It breaks my heart to hear from Nebraskans who have lost loved ones to overdoses. We have to do more to fight this crisis and save lives. The bipartisan solution passed today will help states improve treatment, train health professionals, and expand prevention programs,” said Senator Fischer.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 128 Nebraskans died of drug overdoses in 2016, with 38 of those deaths resulting from opioid overdoses.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act would reauthorize $500 million in opioid grant funding for each fiscal year 2019-2021. The program was created by the 21st Century Cures Act, which passed Congress and was signed into law in 2016. States would be able to use the funds to make substance abuse treatment more accessible, train health care providers, and further research on prevention. Nebraska has received two $2 million grants under this program, one in 2017 and the other in 2018.

Click here for more information about the bill from the Senate HELP Committee.