The Congresswoman’s Legislation — Included in the End-of-Year Funding Deal Signed into Law by President Biden —is Named After Summer Barrow, a Virginian Who Tragically Lost Her Life to a Fentanyl Overdose Nearly Three Years Ago
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden yesterday signed into law U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s legislation to provide $900 million of support for programs that combat substance use disorder and addiction in Virginia and across the country.
Signed into law as part of the end-of-year funding deal, Spanberger’s Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act will increase federal investment in programs to combat substance use disorder and addiction. The legislation — first introduced by Spanberger earlier this year — is named in memory of Summer Barrow, a young Virginian who died of a fentanyl overdose in January 2020.
This legislation would authorize annual funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) to support American communities’ fight against the substance use disorder epidemic. Specifically, the bill would reauthorize several substance use disorder programs which focus on overdose prevention, first responder training, co-prescribing programs, pregnant and postpartum women substance use disorder treatment, and alternatives to opioids in emergency rooms.
“In recent years, Virginia has seen record rates of overdose and overdose-related deaths, and I’ve had heartbreaking conversations with the families of parents who have lost children to addiction and eventual overdose. Many of these parents — including Summer’s mom — have turned to advocacy, in an effort to prevent other families from experiencing these horrible tragedies,” said Spanberger. “I’ve been honored to lead this legislation in Summer’s name and to help lead the charge to support states’ and communities’ work to combat addiction — particularly as we battle the opioid crisis. I also want to recognize the tireless, often lifesaving work of the Virginia recovery organizations, law enforcement officers, and community leaders who have been spearheading the fight against addiction in our region. This new funding will support their work, build more pathways of hope, and make Virginia’s communities healthier, stronger, and more resilient long into the future.”
“Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of Representative Spanberger and her colleagues, our family finds solace in the fact that the programs in the Summer Barrow Act will offer support — and perhaps even a better future — for those who are struggling with substance use disorder,” said Carey Colvin, Mother of Summer Barrow. “This epidemic concerns every American and has taken far too many lives, including the life of my daughter. No one actively decides to be an addict or chooses to develop mental health issues and this Act offers several avenues of treatment. There are no appropriate words to express how much we miss Summer. Like so many who have lost their struggle with substance use disorder, she would never have intentionally caused the grief that continues to envelop us. She would be comforted in knowing that she is part of a legacy that offers hope to others.”
“The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) supports inclusion of the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act in the FY 2023 appropriations package,” said Alan Morgan, CEO, National Rural Health Association. “NRHA applauds Representative Spanberger (D-VA) for her continued support on behalf of rural communities, and seeking solutions in the ongoing substance use disorder crisis. This legislation will increase access to needed services in our rural communities.”
“With more Americans dying this past year from overdose than any previous year on record, it is time to make bold investments across all levels of intervention and treatment in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” said Brandie Williams, Deputy Executive Director, Rappahannock Community Services Board. “The flexibility in funding provided for in The Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act sends a clear message to our communities, our friends, our brothers, and our daughters experiencing addiction that you are not alone. Just as the path to recovery looks different for each individual, so should the resources and treatment options available to them. We are committed and resourced to stand beside you.”
“For Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services (RRCS), I want to thank Congresswoman Spanberger for her commitment to the members of our community, struggling with a Substance Use Disorder,” said Jim LaGraffe, Executive Director, Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services. “The Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Act passage will ensure our organization can continue to provide critical services for those needing support in their recovery and also assist us in developing strategies and activities for Prevention. As we know, the lifetime odds of dying from a fatal overdose are now greater than dying in an automobile accident. This Act, and the services it supports will save lives in our community. Again, for RRCS, I thank Congresswoman Spanberger for her dedication to the people she serves.”
“Henrico County applauds the inclusion of more than $900 million in federal funding to strengthen local efforts to help those struggling with substance abuse disorders,” said Patricia S. O’Bannon, Chair, Henrico Board of Supervisors and Representative, Tuckahoe District. “As we’ve learned throughout this deadly epidemic, an individual’s chances of recovery improve greatly when there’s timely access to medical treatment and support throughout the continuum of care. This federal investment will complement Henrico’s plan to open the region’s first public detoxification center and will save lives and restore hope for those who might otherwise feel hopeless.”
“Justice-involved individuals that we serve at FailSafe-ERA will greatly benefit from the reallocation of these funds to prevent and treat substance abuse and misuse resulting in and from criminal activities that not only impact them but also family members and the community,” said Juanita Shanks, President & CEO, FailSafe-ERA.
Virginia’s physicians are extraordinarily thankful for the passage of the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act,” said Dr. Harry Gewanter, President, Medical Society of Virginia. “Substance abuse and all its consequences remains an ever-growing and ever-changing challenge for all Virginians, including the healthcare community. This important new funding will help the Commonwealth’s healthcare providers do what they do best: help patients and their families.”
“VACo welcomes the passage of this important legislation,” said Dean A. Lynch, Executive Director, Virginia Association of Counties. “The Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act will provide significant resources to address the serious problem of substance use disorder, which has inflicted so much harm in counties across Virginia.”
“The inclusion of the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act in the FY23 omnibus spending bill is a significant step forward for recovery support resources,” said Patty McCarthy, CEO, Faces & Voices of Recovery. “Through an authorization of almost $1 billion in funding, the act recognizes the importance of communities investing in their own priorities, such as peer support, recovery housing, and overdose reversal. We look forward to continued progress on this front and encourage all Americans to advocate for improving access to recovery support in their own communities.”
“We are grateful that Rep. Spanberger has responded to the opioid crisis in Virginia and across the country by passing the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act,” said Chris Bove, CEO, CleanSlate Centers. “CleanSlate Centers is committed to providing essential SUD treatment in the Commonwealth and across the United States using the resources and new flexibility provided in the Omnibus legislation and ensuring that people in need receive the Medication Assisted Treatment that reduces overdose deaths and helps people rebuild their lives.”
“Our SUD counselors and peers are heavily reliant on SAMHSA grants to fund the settings they work in,” said Mark Attanasi, Executive Director, IC&RC. “The public that we serve and protect through our standards is deserving of this investment. The funding levels authorized by the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act can make a tremendous difference, and we celebrate its passage.”
“The passage of the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act reflects a true understanding of the challenge we face when it comes to the treatment of substance use disorders around the country,” said Pete Nielsen, CEO, Behavioral Health Association of Providers. “By addressing the problem on a regional and on a community level, we recognize that each area is beset by unique challenges. Whether that challenge be underage drinking, homelessness, or something else entirely, we are now a little more hopeful that resources will reach those who need it most.”
“CADCA and its 5,000 community coalition members across the country are thrilled that this critical piece of legislation will provide vital resources for substance use prevention, to include underage drinking, through the Reauthorization of the Sober Truth On Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act,” said General Barrye L. Price, President and CEO, CADCA. “CADCA applauds that the bill includes investments across the entire continuum of care to enable states and communities to solve their locally identified substance use problems.”
In March 2022, Spanberger joined Virginia law enforcement officials, Virginia community organizations, Virginia recovery advocates, and the family of Summer Barrow to announce the introduction of the legislation. Click here to watch their comments, and click here for photos.
Following its introduction, Spanberger’s office released a wide-ranging list of Virginia-based and national organizations — including recovery advocates, law enforcement departments, and healthcare professionals — endorsing the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act. The Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act is cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Kelly Armstrong (R-ND-AL), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), and María Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27).
Spanberger has consistently worked to combat addiction, support recovery services, and block illicit and deadly substances from making it into Virginia communities. Just last week, the President signed into law her Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act — which will strengthen the ability of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to detect and intercept fentanyl along America’s borders and at our nation’s ports of entry.