Dear Colleague letter calls for increased investments in SAPT Block Grant and SOR
Updated: May 26, 2020
On May 19th, Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), along with 17 of their democratic colleagues, sent a letter to Senate and House leadership on the need for increased investments in substance use disorder programs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Notably, the letter calls for “$2 billion in funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to administer supplemental grant allocations under the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant program and the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program.” The letter also recommends granting SAMHSA the authority to ensure that States have flexibility in the allowable uses of SAPT Block Grant funds, including:
emergency bridge funding to prevent the closure of treatment or recovery organizations;
ensuring that funding may be used for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for providers;
facilitating the transition of providers to new treatment models and telehealth services; and
permitting SAMHSA greater flexibility in the disbursement and reporting timelines for these grants.
The Senators also recommend allowing SOR funds to be used for a broader array of substance use disorders, including alcohol misuse, in addition to opioids and stimulants. The letter also requests a supplemental investment of $100 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Opioid Overdose Prevention and Surveillance activities.