Earlier this week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee unveiled its opioid response bill, S. 2680. The Alliance was pleased to see changes in the legislative language that aligned with some of the recommendations that were generated by the Alliance strategic action network and resulted from discussions with Senate staff. Comparing the draft bill with the introduced measure, there is new language that continues to nudge federal opioid policy to focus on two-generation treatment and supports. One specific example of this is the inclusion of increased financing for substance abuse treatment that keeps mothers and children together. The bill language includes a new section that calls on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect data on adverse childhood experiences. The bill also addresses an age gap that the Alliance surfaced to Senate staffers by including provisions that respond to the needs of toddlers impacted by this crisis. These are all provisions that the Alliance network advocated to include.

The Alliance network will continue to call on Congress to focus on the root causes of addiction, align public policies to a framework of prevention and neuroscience research, support two-generation approach to treatment and recovery options that keep families intact, and ensure equal access to treatment and recovery options.

The Alliance was also pleased to note that, during the Senate Finance Committee hearing, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) also drew attention to the impact this crisis is having on children and families. This is significant because the impact of the crisis on families, and the needs that therefore must be addressed, was not mentioned in previous Hill conversations.

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