Addiction Policy News

ASAM Supports Increased Funding for Syringe Services Providers

May 21, 2021

 

On May 21, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and 228 other organizations sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. The letter urged them to include $120 million for the Infectious Diseases and the Opioid Epidemic program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their committees' appropriations bills. The Infectious Diseases and the Opioid Epidemic program provides funding to syringe services providers (SSPs) to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C. The letter also urged legislators to end the ban on federal funding for syringes.

 

The letter first stressed the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on those struggling with addiction. Overdose deaths in 2020 are expected to have increased by as much as 40% compared to 2019, and the economic impacts of COVID-19 have caused approximately half of existing SSPs to struggle with budget cuts and reduced resources. Furthermore, unrelated to the pandemic, overdose deaths have surged among Black people and communities of color. From 2015 to 2018, overdose deaths among African Americans more than doubled (by 2.2 times) and among Hispanic people increased by 1.7 times while increasing among white, non-Hispanic people by 1.3 times. Given the worsening of the country's addiction crisis, it is critical that Congress boost funding for SSPs so that they can continue to offer lifesaving services such as needle exchange and naloxone kits to those struggling with addiction. 

Read the letter here.