Two U.S. senators are calling on Congress to pass an emergency spending bill to combat the growing opioid epidemic, according to The Hill.
Senators Angus King of Maine and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire are asking for $600 million in funding.
Senator Shaheen introduced legislation last year that would provide supplemental funding, including $225 million for the Department of Justice to increase spending for state and local initiatives on drug treatment and law enforcement programs.
That amount would include $25 million to assist state drug task forces in dealing with particularly high rates of heroin abuse.
The measure would provide $375 million to the Department of Health and Human Services to fund programs to prevent substance abuse and prescription drug overdoses.
The funds would also go toward research on drug addiction, and programs targeting underage drinking and drug abuse among young people ages 12 to 25.
Earlier this month, Senator Shaheen sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to increase funding for substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. Senator King sent a similar letter in December.
At a press conference on Friday, Senator Shaheen said, “Congress needs to treat the heroin epidemic like the national public health emergency that it is. There are far too many families in New Hampshire, Maine and across the country that have lost a loved one to heroin and opioids.”