Wide Coalition of Virginia & Nationwide Organizations Endorses Spanberger’s Major Bipartisan Bill to Reauthorize Critical Substance Use Disorder Programs as Overdose Rates Hit Record Levels

Apr 04, 2022

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following its introduction last week, a wide coalition of Virginia-based and national organizations is backing U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s bipartisan bill to combat skyrocketing rates of substance use disorder and addiction.

The pandemic has exacerbated America’s deadly drug addiction and overdose epidemic. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that between October 2020 and October 2021 nearly 106,000 Americans died by overdose — setting a record for such deaths in a single year.

Spanberger’s 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.Specifically, the bill would reauthorize several substance use disorder programs. 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.

The bipartisan bill is named after Summer Barrow, a Central Virginian who lost her life to a fentanyl overdose in January 2020. Last Tuesday, 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 the announcement of the bill’s introduction last Tuesday, a wide range of community-focused, recovery, and treatment advocacy organizations has endorsed Spanberger’s Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act — including:


  • Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office
  • Culpeper Police Department
  • Henrico County Sheriff’s Office
  • Louisa Reentry Council
  • The McShin Foundation
  • Mental Health America — Virginia
  • Rappahannock Area Community Services Board
  • Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services
  • Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Recovery Alliance of Virginia
  • Virginia Association of Counties (VACo)
  • Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (VAFCC)
  • Virginia Rural Health Association (VRHA)
  • Virginia Health Catalyst
  • Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the VCU Health System


  • Addiction Professionals of North Carolina
  • Behavioral Health Association of Providers
  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)
  • CADA of Northwest Louisiana
  • California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals
  • Connecticut Certification Board
  • Faces & Voices of Recovery
  • National Association of Counties (NACo)
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC)
  • Treatment Advocacy Center


“It is our hope that with this act, others will be spared what we are going through. Summer would have been proud to be a part of something that will help others and that will offer viable resources to those who are struggling with addiction. Our family is honored to have Summer’s name affiliated with this act. We thank Representatives Spanberger, O’Halleran, Salazar, and Armstrong who have made this much-needed legislation possible,” said Carey Colvin, Mother of Summer Barrow during Tuesday’s event.

“Thank you, Representative Spanberger. We appreciate the opportunity to be here this afternoon, as well as to acknowledge the hard work that you’ve done to sponsor this bill. Culpeper is a small community, probably about an hour and a half south from Washington, D.C. Yet, I can tell you, we face almost daily the effects of opiate and drug abuse and deaths. Our officers are at the front line almost every day responding to an emergency call where someone has overdosed,” said Chris Jenkins, Chief of Police, Culpeper Police Department during Tuesday’s event.

“I want to thank the congresswoman for inviting me today and her leadership on this very important topic. As executive director of Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services, it is my obligation to support the five counties in north-central Virginia of Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Orange, and Madison counties as the safety net for those members of our community struggling with a substance use disorder or a mental illness. We are community of suburban and rural neighborhoods in the beautiful farmland, rolling hills, and small towns at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We are also a region that has an adult suicide rate over 30 percent higher than the national and state average. We are also an area that has seen 47 fatal overdoses in the first nine months of 2021,” said Jim LaGraffe, Executive Director, Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services during Tuesday’s event.

“Just as the path to recovery looks different for each individual, so should the resources and treatment options available to them. The flexibility in funding provided by the Summer Barrow Act sends a clear message to our community, our friends, our brothers, our daughters, and all those who are experiencing addiction that they are not alone. We are committed and resourced to stand beside you. Thanks again for this opportunity to speak today,” said Brandie Williams, Deputy Executive Director, Rappahannock Area Community Services Board during Tuesday’s event.

“In Chesterfield County, for over 5 years now our HARP Program has demonstrated the importance of peer-to-peer support and recovery services for inmates struggling with addiction (as well as community members who come in off the street). We must maintain investments in programs that have a record of success, prevent individuals from reentering the corrections system, and provide services to those who are on the pathway to hope and recovery. The Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act recognizes the need for investments in substance use disorder and mental health services in our jails — and it would deliver a clear message that we prioritize the safety and health of every person in our communities. I want to thank Rep. Spanberger for her consistent focus on this issue — and for championing the cause of recovery here in Virginia. As is our belief with HARP, you break the cycle of recidivism by breaking the cycle of addiction,” said Karl Leonard, Sheriff, Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office.

“The McShin Foundation is grateful for this bipartisan legislation providing critical support for proven, community-based recovery solutions to the addiction epidemic. These investments in recovery create safer communities, build stronger families, and save lives. We remain hopeful that the final SAMHSA reauthorization will include a 10% set aside in SAPT block grant,” John Shinholser, Co-Founder & President, The McShin Foundation.

“Individuals living with a mental health condition are more likely to also have health problems treated with opioid prescriptions, and are at greater risk of developing a drug dependence. The nation is facing a dual crisis in mental illness and substance use. The Summer Barrow Act is an essential tool in supporting the continuum of prevention, treatment and recovery services proven to save lives and keep families together,” said Bruce Cruser, Executive Director, Mental Health America – Virginia.

“The Summer Barrow Act will provide a transformative investment that will significantly reduce barriers to Recovery and provide timely resources to individuals in crises; ultimately, this bill will save lives,” said Victor McKenzie Jr., Executive Director of SAARA of Virginia and Secretary of Virginia’s Opioid Abatement Authority.

“Local governments have been on the front lines in responding to the epidemic of substance use disorder, and VACo’s members are deeply concerned by the tragic losses experienced by our communities.  This legislation would provide vital resources to address these issues in a comprehensive manner,” said Dean A. Lynch, CAE, Executive Director, Virginia Association of Counties (VACo).

“Here in Virginia, we face a crisis from opioid use that has devastated the overall health and wellbeing of so many Virginians and which has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. On behalf of our member clinics and the more than 70,000 vulnerable patients they serve, the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics fully supports the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act (H.R. 7234) introduced by Representative Spanberger,” said Rufus Phillips, CEO, Virginia Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (VAFCC).

“The Virginia Rural Health Association, in collaboration with One Care of Southwest Virginia has been able to use funds from this program to provide structural support for a broad spectrum of programs designed to address Substance Use Disorder from every angle.  We applaud Rep. Spanberger in her determination to assure those programs can continue,” said Beth O’Connor, M.Ed., Executive Director, Virginia Rural Health Association.


“Whether services are provided by a counselor or a peer, whether they be inpatient or outpatient, for methamphetamine or opioids, we need more resources across the board. This legislation will aid communities in their efforts to bring services to those most in need, including the homeless and those who rely on publicly funded programs. The Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act will bring us one step closer to achieving our goal of serving everyone who might be in need of these essential services,” said Bill Rose, Executive Director, CADA of Northwest Louisiana

“Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America is pleased to endorse the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Act because it reauthorizes the critically important substance use prevention programs in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) including the Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking (STOP) Act programs and the Programs of Regional and National Significance in the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention,” said General Barrye L. Price, Ph.D., President and CEO, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA).

“For communities to safely access and sustain recovery, we must close the gaps within our systems that countless Americans attempt to navigate every day, gaps that are especially prevalent for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Reauthorizing these grant programs  that address key barriers to health and wellness will allow for greater access to recovery support services and linkages to care,” said David Mineta, Board Chairperson, Faces & Voices of Recovery.

“Our SUD professionals- peers, counselors, and clinical supervisors alike- are trapped in a system that is underfunded.  Our professionals work in prevention, treatment, and recovery, and understand the value of each. The public that we serve, as well as protect, is heavily reliant on agencies such as SAMHSA. The funding proposed by Rep. Spanberger and the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act can make a tremendous difference, and we look forward to its passage,” said Mark Attanasi, Executive Director, IC&RC

“Our nation is in need of solutions to address the growing mental health and substance use crisis. SAMHSA grant programs are critical to identifying and testing innovative solutions to address community needs. NAMI thanks Representative Spanberger for her leadership to introduce this legislation to reauthorize these programs,” said Hannah Wesolowski, Chief Advocacy Officer, National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI.

“Untreated mental illness, which is so often co-occurring with substance use disorder, deserves and requires a medical and human services response, not a criminal justice one. This bill boosts spending on and prioritization of programs that divert our loved ones from jails and into care. We applaud this acknowledgement that while health care should not be a police matter, ignoring people’s treatment needs often makes it one and we must take action to reverse this trend,” said Lisa Dailey, Executive Director, Treatment Advocacy Center.

“The opioid epidemic- and the scourge of overdoses that accompany it- has gone on for far too long. It is a public health crisis in need of immediate action, and we must fund these actions accordingly. Rep. Spanberger’s effort to increase funding for these essential programs at SAMHSA is welcome by all regions of the country, and we endorse this legislation in hopes that it will bring long-awaited services and a highly skilled workforce to every state and every community,” said Jeffery Quamme, Executive Director, Connecticut Certification Board.


Spanberger introduced the legislation last week. 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).

Click here for a one-pager on the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act, and click here for the full bill text.


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