Investing in W.Va.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am in a unique position to fight for investments in our West Virginia communities. In February, I sent a letter to President Trump describing the specific priorities I believe will benefit our state and this nation. I asked that as he and his administration draft their budget for fiscal year 2018, that he should consider provisions that will benefit the hardworking people of the great state of West Virginia who were too often overlooked by the Obama administration. From there, I met with my colleagues, community leaders, local elected officials, and experts to further advocate for what I believed would benefit the people I represent. I am proud to say that many of my priorities were included in the funding bill for fiscal year 2017 such as significant funding to combat the opioid epidemic and investments in fossil energy research and broadband expansion.
In many communities across our nation, a major barrier that those suffering from opioid addiction face is insufficient access to substance abuse treatment. The eastern panhandle in West Virginia is no exception. Too many of us know friends or family members who have recognized that they need help, but have been turned away because there simply weren’t enough facilities, beds, or mental health providers in their community.
This funding bill includes significant funding to combat the opioid epidemic with a $2.1 billion block grant for substance abuse prevention and treatment, $103 million in funding for programs established through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and $223 million for substance abuse prevention programs. In addition, $43 million was designated for drug courts and $3 million was designated to specifically address drug abuse within rural communities.
Last year, I read a letter from a Martinsburg woman named Carolyn on the Senate floor. Carolyn wrote to me about her granddaughter Devon and Devon’s death from a heroin overdose. Carolyn shared with me that Devon had overdosed several times before but usually she had been rushed to a hospital where they were able to save her life. There are families like Devon’s all across our state who should not have to mourn the loss of their children and grandchildren. We must invest in additional treatment facilities to ensure every young person in West Virginia is given the chance to recover and live full, happy lives.
This funding bill makes significant investments in the future of West Virginia and I look forward to continuing to work closely with President Trump and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure we are prioritizing communities over partisanship and continuing to invest in our nation’s future.