The Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act is Named After Summer Barrow, A Virginian Who Tragically Lost Her Life to a Fentanyl Overdose Two Years Ago
**VIDEO: At Capitol Hill Press Conference, Spanberger, Virginia Law Enforcement, Virginia Community Organizations, & Summer Barrow’s Family Announce Introduction of Bipartisan Bill to Combat Addiction and Support Recovery Efforts**
***Click Here for Photos from Today’s Press Event***
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND-AL), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), and María Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27) today announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to combat rising rates of substance use disorder and addiction across the country, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has exacerbated America’s deadly drug addiction and overdose epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between October 2020 and October 2021 nearly 106,000 Americans died by overdose, setting a record for such deaths in a single year.
In response to these record overdose rates, the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act would reauthorize several substance use disorder programs — including the Substance Use Disorder Programs of National Significance Grant Programs for both treatment and prevention. These authorizations include key programs focused on overdose prevention, first responder training, co-prescribing programs, pregnant and postpartum women substance use disorder treatment, and alternatives to opioids in emergency rooms — and more.
The bipartisan bill is named after Summer Barrow, a Central Virginian who lost her life to a fentanyl overdose in January 2020. During the announcement of the legislation on Tuesday, Carey Colvin, Summer Barrow’s mother, spoke in support of this legislative effort. Click here to watch Colvin’s remarks.
“The addiction crisis touches all of our communities — whether urban, suburban, or rural. Right now, we need to recognize that there are two pandemics happening in our country; even as we’re making significant progress in the fight against COVID-19, the opioid and substance use disorder crisis continues to worsen. And going forward, we must focus on strengthening access to treatment and recovery programs,” said Spanberger. “That’s why I am proud to lead this bipartisan, comprehensive effort to forcefully respond to the substance use disorder crisis through SAMHSA.”
Spanberger continued, “Over the last two years, I have heard from far too many families in Virginia about how they have been personally impacted by addiction and overdose — and one such call was with Carey Colvin, whose daughter Summer Barrow died due to a fentanyl overdose. I am honored to lead this legislation — in Summer’s name — to support states’ and communities’ work to combat addiction through prevention, treatment, and recovery services. I want to thank the many Virginia recovery organizations, community leaders, and law enforcement officials who have led the charge against the scourge of substance use disorder and provided hope to our neighbors at risk — and I want to thank Representatives Armstrong, O’Halleran, and Salazar for their partnership on this urgent issue.”
“While there is a shortage of substance use disorder and mental health services across the country, rural communities face unique challenges in meeting their needs. SAMHSA grant programs have helped state, local, and tribal governments in North Dakota provide care to those most in need and I am proud to support this reauthorization,” said Armstrong.
“Working on the Chicago PD, I saw heartbreaking overdoses that tore apart families. Since then, the opioid crisis has grown and worsened, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said O’Halleran. “I’ve always been a strong supporter of commonsense measures that curb the over-prescription of painkillers and expand affordable, available treatment options for Arizonans struggling with addiction. I’m proud to join this bipartisan group in introducing legislation to reauthorize SAMSHA programs that will help the rural communities that need them most.”
“Homelessness, mental health, and substance abuse are significant issues for South Florida, and Congress must confront these issues and the challenges they present,” said Salazar. “That is why I am very proud to co-lead this important legislation, authorizing grants to better equip community partners to assist those in need. It is time to provide the full range of tools available to save lives, improve health, and keep families together.”
On Tuesday, Spanberger was joined by Virginia law enforcement leaders, community organizations, and recovery advocates to announce the introduction of the legislation. Click here to watch the full event.
Specifically, the bipartisan Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act authorizes more than $900 million in funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) to support American communities’ fight against the substance use disorder epidemic.
Click here for a one-pager on the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act, and click here for the full bill text.