Following Spanberger-Led Push, Treasury Department Green-Lights Use of American Rescue Plan Funding to Combat Opioid Epidemic in States & Localities

May 10, 2021

Following Spanberger-Led Push, Treasury Department Green-Lights Use of American Rescue Plan Funding to Combat Opioid Epidemic in States & Localities

HENRICO, V.A. – After U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger pressed the U.S. Treasury Department to allow states to use American Rescue Plan funding to combat increased drug overdose deaths, the Treasury Department today released guidance on acceptable uses of these funds — including to combat the substance abuse epidemic in communities across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths in the United States are projected to have increased by 30 percent from 2019 to 2020

Last week, Spanberger led a bipartisan group of her colleagues in calling on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to ensure that American Rescue Plan funding gives states and localities the flexibility they need to invest in prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts related to the growing substance abuse epidemic. In their letter, they also urged the Treasury Department to recognize the clear, direct link between the sharp spike in drug overdose deaths and the healthcare, economic, and psychological effects of the pandemic.

Today, the U.S. Treasury Department released guidance that allows for American communities to use American Rescue Plan funding to invest in mental health treatment, substance misuse treatment, and other behavioral health services related to the negative effects of the pandemic.

“With today’s announcement, the Treasury Department confirmed a fact that Central Virginia families, law enforcement, and healthcare professionals have known all too well throughout the last year — that the isolation, loneliness, and loss spurred on by the pandemic have greatly intensified the sting of the opioid abuse epidemic. This announcement is a recognition that our country’s long-term recovery must include support for those who are struggling in the grips of addiction and substance abuse,” said Spanberger. “In allowing for this use of funds, the federal government has given Virginia additional tools to combat the substance abuse epidemic and put more Virginians on a pathway towards healing and renewal. I’m encouraged that Secretary Yellen has overseen the release of guidance that will help strengthen our economic recovery, put Americans back to work, keep our schools open, and protect the most vulnerable in our communities — including those struggling with opioid abuse.”

Today’s guidance comes as the Treasury Department announces the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds, which were established by the American Rescue Plan. Spanberger voted to pass the American Rescue Plan in March 2021.

Click here for a fact sheet with additional details on the ways American Rescue Plan funds can be used to respond to pandemic-response needs, fill revenue shortfalls, and support communities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.


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