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We need your help! The Senate is currently considering the “HEALS Act” to fund a number of pressing needs related to COVID-19, including substance use and mental health. As it stands now, the legislation would provide $4.5 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for treatment and prevention. We are asking that $50 million of that total be set aside for peer recovery, continuing care and ongoing community support for individuals to maintain their recovery and $5 million to fund local programs to help caregivers and families address substance use disorder and find care for a loved one.
We need to make some noise and let Senators know how important it is to have dedicated funding for recovery support and family support services.
HEALS Act Funding for Recovery and Family Support Programs
Dear [Decision Maker],
As you continue consideration of the HEALS Act, I urge you to retain the $4.5 billion included in the legislation for substance use and mental health care at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and to specify that $50 million be dedicated to peer recovery support and $5 million to family support services. This funding will help address the substance use crisis that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic by helping individuals to sustain recovery and helping families to find help for a loved one.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released preliminary data indicating that drug overdose fatalities were at a record high in 2019 with 70,980 deaths. Since the advent of the pandemic, overdose numbers are on track to outpace those in 2019. Compared to the same month in 2019, overdoses have increased 18% in March, 29% in April and 42% in May. Not all of the 2019 and 2020 overdoses are related to the sustained opioid crisis. The use of stimulants, including methamphetamine and cocaine, is also increasing in areas throughout the United States, and some of the overdoses can be attributed to this troubling drug trend. This funding investment will help address stimulant use before it gets worse. The combination of social distancing, increased financial stress, loss of work, lack of structured time and uncertainty about the future -- coupled with disruption to traditional and local care services -- has created a perfect storm for mental health and addiction struggles and a pressing need for increased funding for treatment and support services.
I appreciate the $4.5 billion that the HEALS Act contains to support substance use and mental health services. As part of that funding, we urge you to dedicate $50 million to peer recovery services to provide continuing care and ongoing community support for individuals to maintain their recovery and $5 million to fund local programs to help caregivers and families address substance use disorder and find care for a loved one. Thank you for your consideration of this request. Emergency funding is desperately needed to help individuals and families who are suffering due to the substance use and mental health crisis that has been intensified by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sincerely[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]