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Support Increased SAPT Block Grant Funding

The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant is the foundation for substance use treatment, prevention, and recovery systems in states and territories across the U.S. The SAPT Block Grant helps ensure that jurisdiction can address the substance use disorder issues facing their respective communities. SAPT Block Grant funding has failed to keep pace with inflation, even as our nation faces crisis. We must demand that this critical lifeline to treatment and recovery services be supported.

Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) are sending the below letter to the Appropriations Committee urging a $500 million increase for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant in Fiscal Year 2021.

Call your Representative today and urge them to support the SAPT Block Grant by signing onto the letter being circulated by Representatives Tonko and Fitzpatrick by COB Friday March 6th.


Text of the Letter:

March XX, 2020

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro                                    The Honorable Tom Cole
Chairman                                                                    Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education          Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education
House Committee on Appropriations                         House Committee on Appropriations
H-307 The Capitol                                                      1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515                                              Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman DeLauro and Ranking Member Cole,

Thank you for your leadership in addressing our nation’s substance use epidemics.  As you consider fiscal year 2021 spending priorities within the bill funding the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, we are writing to request $2,358,079,000 for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant, which is the cornerstone of States’ substance use treatment, prevention, and recovery systems. This funding level is equal to what the House of Representatives approved in the FY2019 Labor-HHS Appropriations legislation and a $500 million increase over current funding levels.

Any sustainable strategy designed to address the substance use crisis in America must include a strong commitment to the SAPT Block Grant. In 2018, 53.2 million Americans used illicit drugs. Specifically, 43.5 million used marijuana, 12.5 million used stimulants, 10.7 million misused opioids, and 6.4 million misused prescription sedatives. While the ongoing opioid epidemic remains a major public health concern, other substance use issues, such as methamphetamine addiction, alcohol misuse, marijuana use, and e-cigarette use require increased attention and resources. After years of making steady gains, tobacco use among young people is again on the rise, with one in five high school students reporting e-cigarette use within the past 30 days. Of those Americans who drink alcohol, 48 percent of them (67 million) binge drink, and alcohol misuse continues to contribute to over 88,000 alcohol-related deaths each year, making it the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It is clear more must be done to support effective treatment and prevention programs.  

The SAPT Block Grant, distributed by formula, allows all States and Territories to support services that address any substance use issues they face within their own jurisdiction, resulting in exceptional outcomes.  In FY 2019, SAPT funding directly served 1.5 million Americans. Of clients discharged from SAPT Block Grant-funded treatment programs, 56 percent were abstinent from illicit drugs, 77 percent were abstinent from alcohol, 96 percent had no criminal justice involvement, and 88 percent had permanent housing. 

A strong commitment to the SAPT Block Grant represents a strong commitment to primary prevention. In addition to treatment services, the SAPT Block Grant includes prevention funds that represent 70 percent of primary prevention funding managed by State substance use agencies. In some States, the SAPT investment accounts for 100 percent of substance use prevention dollars. Unfortunately, SAPT Block Grant funding has not kept up with inflation, resulting in a 24 percent—or $444 million—decrease in actual funding since 2009.    

We urge you to provide $2,358,079,000 for the SAPT Block Grant as work progresses on FY 2021 appropriations. Sensible investments in the SAPT Block Grant will ultimately save money while strengthening communities, keeping families together, and most importantly saving lives.


___________________________                                          ______________________________
Rep. Paul Tonko                                                                     Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick