Tester Statement on Passage of Opioid Legislation

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester today issued the following statement after voting for legislation that helps curb the abuses of opioid drugs across the nation:

“This bill is a step forward when it comes to addressing our nation’s addiction to pain killers,” Tester said. “However, while it begins to acknowledge that we must treat addiction as a disease, it doesn’t get real resources to the ground. Moving forward Congress should put their money where their mouth is so we can better combat addiction and keep our families and communities safe.”

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act passed the Senate 92-2 and would:

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin. 
  • Authorize $5 million per year for community based efforts to combat drug abuse.
  • Expand the availability of naloxone – a drug known to reverse overdoses and save lives.
  • Authorize $5 million per year for health centers to train providers how to administer overdose medication.

This legislation includes major portions of Tester’s Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act to provide safer and more effective pain management services to veterans.

Tester supported an amendment to the bill that would have provided emergency funding to states, first responders, and treatment providers to combat this ongoing crisis. Unfortunately, the amendment failed along party lines.

Tester is now calling on his colleagues to provide funding to back the new legislation.