WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, welcomed the Senate’s passage of S.2680, the Opioid Crisis Response Act (OCRA) of 2018.
“The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, is an important step forward to combat the dangers that opioid abuse presents to tribal communities,” Hoeven said. “Whether the matter involves prevention, education, treatment, recovery or law enforcement, the solution to effectively combat opioid abuse is very complex and requires a comprehensive approach. This bill ensures that tribes have funding and technical assistance to fight opioid abuse.”
The OCRA reauthorizes the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law in 2016 to bolster efforts to address opioid abuse. This legislation includes Indian tribes as eligible grantees for funding and a 5 percent set-aside for tribal applicants. Other key tribal-related provisions in the OCRA include:
Up to a 3 percent set aside of Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act grant funding for tribal applicants to meet the health needs of mothers and newborns affected by opioid abuse.
Tribes will be eligible for funding and technical assistance for opioid-related surveillance and prescription data monitoring programs.
The Indian Health Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Indian Education are now included on a taskforce to develop best practices for trauma-informed identification, referral, and support.
Tribes and tribal organizations will be eligible for grants and contracts, and authorized to enter into cooperative agreements with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to improve trauma support services and mental health care for children and youth.
Consultation will be required to ensure tribes remain informed of funding opportunities for prevention and treatment efforts.