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September 20, 2022

Bipartisan Addiction & Mental Health Task Force Working On Bills In Congress

Credit: WFMD, Kevin McManus

The Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force is working on several bills before Congress. One would created a State Opioid Response Grant. “That’s going to $8.75-billion–with a ‘b’–dollars that we’ll give over the next six years to our state governments,” says Representative David Trone (D-Md). “It’s always better to give to the state. The state can work it into the counties, Frederick, Washington County, etc.”

Trone, who is a co-chair of the Task Force, says the money will be used by the states to set up crisis stabilization centers for addicts. “So we need a stabilization center where they can go there immediately, begin to get the help.  . If they’re withdrawing, take care of the withdrawal health; get the mental health back up. And then get them placed  in a long term or short term care facility,” he says.

Representative Trone says he was able to get funding to set a similar facility in Frederick.

Another bill would work with the very young who become addicted. “Young people that are suffering from addiction under the age of 18. So that’s another area,” he says.

The Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force consists of 140 legislators who put together 106 bills on addiction and mental health. Trone says 22 bills have been passed by the House of Representatives and are making their way through the US Senate. Seven have been approved by both Houses of Congress, and have been signed into law by the President.

Trone  says members work in a bipartisan way. “This Mental Health Task Force, Addiction Task Force, we’re leading Congress on these issues,” he says. “What I like about it is it really can work together in a bipartisan way, do something we can agree on; and that’s a place to build.”

He says he took a strong interest in these issues after his nephew died of an overdose. “He died of a fentanyl overdose, just like 100,000 Americans last year. He was 24-years old from Montgomery County,” says Trone.

In battling addictions and mental health issues, Trone says it’s important for all Americans to be united. “We came together for COVID, and we have a vaccine and that’s great. But we have to come together the same way for addiction and mental health. And we’re never going to get a vaccine for addiction,” he says.