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Brown wants more for opioid fight

Bill would expand grants, guarantee more funding

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has introduced legislation he says will help states better fight the opioid epidemic.

The Opioid Response Enhancement Act would expand a grant program, created as part of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, and guarantee states have access to continued and additional funding for the next five years under the program.

“Ohio communities tell me all the time that they need the government to step up and provide resources to fight this epidemic,” Brown said in a news release. “We have to scale up our investment in this public health emergency before we lose more lives.”

Brown’s office said the bill would provide $10 billion over five years for the current State Targeted Response grant program, add a new STR Enhancement Grant for $2 billion over five years for at least ten states and tribal entities with high needs.

It would also require the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide technical assistance to states and tribes, provide flexibility to allow states and tribes to use some of the funding to help address other substance use issues and direct states to prioritize providing funding to local community organizations and counties.