Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, who was one of the first elected officials to recognize the opioid epidemic, has signed on with other mayors nationwide to request that U.S. Congress provide additional resources to communities to fight the opioid problem.
Initiated by the U.S. Conference of Mayors at its 86th annual meeting last June, the nation’s mayors adopted a resolution, “Support Direct Federal Funding to Cities to Provide Substance Use Disorder Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services,” calling on Congress to work with local governments to create new direct funding opportunities through existing or new programs that will allow the nation as a whole to more effectively address the current substance use crisis, help more people find recovery, and save more lives.
Fouts identified the epidemic at his 2017 and 2018 State of the City addresses, and he directed the city police department to supply police officers with Narcan, that has saved hundreds of lives of overdosed drivers. “Every day, more than 115 people in our cities and communities die after overdosing on opioids.
The misuse of an addiction to opioids – including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetics opioids such as fentanyl – is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare of our communities,” said Fouts. “As mayors, we share a responsibility for the health and well-being of our citizens that is why our local governments have developed and implemented policies and programs to address substance use disorder and support long-term recovery, but these programs are in need of additional federal support.”
The Conference of Mayors said: “As Congress deliberates legislation related to combating the opioid crisis, we would like you to consider providing direct local funding to political subdivisions of states as part of your package of solutions. One way this could be accomplished is by amending the 21st Century Cures State Targeted Opioid Response Grants to include a five percent set aside for the top ten political subdivisions within each state. You may have seen reports that States have faced significantly challenges to spend funding authorized by the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016. Providing direct funding to local governments will help get resources quickly to where they are needed and help save lives. This funding set aside would help provide our communities with the additional funding resources to enhance our prevention, education, treatment and recovery service options.”