Tester Helps Pass Legislation to Combat Drug Abuse & Addiction

Senator Votes to Reauthorize Critical Treatment, Prevention & Enforcement Initiatives

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today voted to pass legislation that will help fight drug abuse and treat addiction across Montana.

“If we’re going to get a grip on this crisis we have to give folks on the ground the tools they need to prevent drug abuse and treat addiction-and that’s exactly what this legislation does,” Tester said. “By investing in initiatives with a proven track record of success, we are investing in a safer, healthier future for our kids and grandkids.

The “sweeping package of bills” supports federal, state, and local initiatives aimed at treating addiction and combatting drug trafficking. The legislation covers a broad range of drug-related issues and incorporates a number of provisions from Tester-sponsored legislation, including his Opioid Response Enhancement Act and ANTI-Drugs Act.

Treating Addiction

Today’s legislation invests $1.5 billion in helping states treat substance abuse and addiction by reauthorizing funding for the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis (STR) Grant Program through 2021. This program was originally established by the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, a bill Tester helped pass in 2016. After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from Montana’s STR Grant recipients, Tester introduced the Opioid Response Enhancement Act to ensure these organizations could continue their track record of success.

However, up until now only states have been eligible to apply for STR Grant funding. That’s why Tester has fought to make tribes eligible for STR funding and today’s legislation does just that, allowing tribes to apply for these grants directly while setting aside five percent of STR funding specifically for tribal entities.

Fighting Drug Trafficking

Last year, Tester raised serious alarms about the White House’s attempt to gut funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which has been instrumental in combatting meth and opioid addiction in Montana. Today’s legislation reauthorizes funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy through 2022, as well as a number of the critical drug and crime fighting initiatives it administers, including:

  • $280 million a year for High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Grants
  • $99 million a year for the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Program
  • $75 million a year for its Drug Courts Program

Today’s legislation also reauthorizes funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Grant Program’s anti-meth and anti-heroin initiatives. Earlier this year, Tester introduced the ANTI-Drugs Act to reauthorize three critical grant programs-including HIDTA and COPS-that Montana’s law enforcement officers count on to keep our communities safe and drug-free.

More information about Tester’s efforts to combat drug addiction and abuse is available HERE.