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September 29, 2021

Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force Announces 2021 Legislative Agenda

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

September 29, 2021

CONTACT:

Sasha Galbreath (Trone), Sasha.Galbreath@mail.house.gov

Jen Fox (Kuster), Jen.Fox@mail.house.gov

Lauren Offenberg (Fitzpatrick), Lauren.Offenberg@mail.house.gov

Craig Wheeler (Herrera Beutler), Craig.Wheeler@mail.house.gov


Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force Announces 2021 Legislative Agenda

**Bipartisan Agenda outlines a comprehensive approach to addressing nation’s evolving addiction and mental health challenges**

**The entire 2021 Legislative Agenda can be viewed HERE**

**The press conference can be viewed HERE**

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, led by Representatives David Trone (D-MD), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), unveiled the Task Force’s 2021 Legislative Agenda. The comprehensive approach outlines ongoing bipartisan efforts in Congress to address the dual addiction and mental health public health crises that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force hosts regular meetings with stakeholders, attends site visits, and creates and advances commonsense, evidence-based, and bipartisan policies that will save lives.

The 2021 Legislative Agenda outlines steps Congress can take to address the ongoing mental health and substance use crisis by:

  • Increasing access to recovery resources;
  • Ending the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health;
  • Building the public health infrastructure needed to address the addiction crisis; and
  • Creating safeguards against the flow of dangerous drugs in our communities.

“I helped create the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force to deploy effective solutions to end the mental health and addiction crises in this country,” said Rep. David Trone. “I’m proud to be here, with Members from all over the country, to lay out our legislative agenda. The sad truth is that the pandemic exacerbated mental and behavioral health problems for many Americans. Today, we come together to address their concerns and assure that we are working to bring funding and resources to communities most in need.”

“I’m proud to join my colleagues on the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force to announce our 2021 Legislative Agenda, outlining comprehensive legislation to address the addiction epidemic, bolster prevention efforts, and expand access to mental health and substance use treatment in New Hampshire and across the country,” said Rep. Annie Kuster. “The public health and economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic created new obstacles for those already struggling with addiction and mental health challenges, making the work of our Task Force all the more important. From ending the cycle of addiction, incarceration, and recidivism by repealing the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion, to expanding funding for mental health resources in the wake of COVID-19, the bipartisan bills included in our Task Force Agenda outline meaningful, comprehensive solutions to end the evolving substance misuse epidemic. We have accomplished a great deal over the past seven years, and I look forward to continuing to lead congressional action with my Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

“I am pleased to join my Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force colleagues to unveil our 2021 legislative agenda, which emphasizes our mission to drive legislation that will expand resources for Americans living with mental health and substance use disorders,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “A crucial part of this mission is ensuring that our mental health and substance use disorder parity laws are being enforced. Americans struggling with their mental health should not be barred from receiving life-saving treatment, which is why I introduced the Parity Enforcement Act, the Tele-Mental Health Improvement Act, and the Parity Implementation Assistance Act. These crucial pieces of legislation are outlined in our legislative agenda and seek to ensure that those with mental health and substance use disorders receive the critical care they need on their road to recovery. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to find bipartisan solutions that address the addiction and opioid crisis plaguing our country.”

“Southwest Washington was facing an addiction crisis that has significantly worsened by the COVID pandemic,” said Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. “With over 93,000 Americans dying of a drug overdose last year – the most ever on record – it’s clear we have much work to do to curb this devastating addiction and mental health crisis. As co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, I’m pleased to join my other co-chairs in presenting this legislative agenda offering solutions aimed at helping folks overcome addiction and ending the crisis caused by deadly substances like fentanyl.”

The Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force’s 2021 legislative agenda includes bills led by Representatives Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), David Trone (D-MD), David McKinley (R-WV), Scott Peters (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Katie Porter (D-CA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Susan Wild (D-PA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), John Katko (R-NY), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), French Hill (R-AR), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), and Tony Cardenas (D-CA).

Before merging into the new Task Force, the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force, led by Reps. Kuster and Fitzpatrick, was an effective driver of legislative solutions to take on the opioid epidemic, unveiling its own 2020 Legislative Agenda last February. 

The Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force merges Rep. Trone’s Freshmen Working Group on Addiction and the Bipartisan Opioid Task Force, which was co-chaired by Reps. Kuster and Fitzpatrick in the 116th Congress and founded by Rep. Kuster in 2015. The purpose of the new Task Force is to build on those efforts to make the most progress possible on addiction and mental health in the 117th Congress.

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