Rep. Kristi Noem today applauded President Donald Trump’s declaration of a nationwide Public Health Emergency to address the opioid crisis. The announcement, according to the White House, allows for expanded access to telemedicine service, temporary appointments of specialists needed to respond effectively to our nation’s health emergency, dislocated worker grants, and shifting of resources to better help individuals receive substance abuse treatment.

“FBI reports indicate the rate of violent crime in South Dakota nearly doubled between 2005 and 2015,” said Noem. “While there are a number of conditions that can contribute to a surge that severe, many agree drugs have played a big role. No community – no family – is immune to addiction. Particularly with opioids, it can often start with a simple prescription for pain medication to deal with a headache. But that same medicine you took to heal can be the drug that leads to a life-altering addiction. I’m encouraged by President Trump’s commitment to addressing this crisis, and I look forward to working closely with him and his administration to keep our communities safer and drug free.”

Last Congress, Noem helped pass two major bills to fight the opioid crisis: the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act, both of which were signed into law.  Among other things, the legislation puts private- and public-sector experts on the case to identify best practices for pain management.

To follow up on those new laws, Noem has thrown her support behind a series of bills in this Congress to combat the growing drug crisis, including:

  • H.R.2857, Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act, (Introduced by Noem; Passed House June 20, 2017), which aims to strengthen a state or tribe’s ability to keep families together through the parent’s drug addiction treatment, if that’s what’s right for the child and for the parent’s treatment.
  • H.R.2834, the Partnership Grants to Strengthen Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse Act (Cosponsored by Noem; Passed House June 20, 2017), which strengthens the Regional Partnership Grant program, a program that provides funding to state and regional grantees to provide evidence-based services to prevent child abuse and neglect related to substance abuse.
  • H.R.1741, Transnational Criminal Organization Illicit Spotter Prevention and Elimination Act (Cosponsored by Noem), which makes it illegal to “spot” for drug traffickers at the border. Without this change, helping drug traffickers avoid law enforcement when crossing the U.S.-Mexico border (known as “spotting”) is not an enforceable offense.
  • H.R.22, Support More Assets, Resources, and Technology on the Border Act (Cosponsored by Noem), which authorizes the deployment of additional personnel and new technologies to secure the border. This includes an authorization for as many as 10,000 additional members of the National Guard to be deployed to the border.
  • H.R.1057, Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act (Cosponsored by Noem), which is designed to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers in the U.S.

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