BOSTON -- Leaders in the addiction community are applauding a nearly $12M grant for the Commonwealth to fight opioid addiction, citing the serious toll the crisis has been taking on the people of Massachusetts. But you wouldn't know that talking to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who put the funding in jeopardy when she opposed it and trivialized its importance.
"While Massachusetts leaders applaud an important step in battling the opioid crisis, Sen. Warren is standing alone, having opposed these crucial resources. Warren may have not cared that she jeopardized opioid funding when she opposed it and downplayed its importance. But with addiction community leaders calling the funds 'huge,' it's hard not to see Warren's grandstanding as embarrassing and downright dangerous for Massachusetts." -MassGOP spokesman Terry MacCormack
Addiction Community Leaders Applaud Life-Saving Cures Act Funding...
"The leader of one community-based treatment provider said the funding has the potential to improve access to treatment. 'It could be huge if it actually translated to having more treatment beds and options,' said Mark Kennard, whose program is affiliated with Bridgewell, a nonprofit human service provider.
'It could not come at a better time,” said Kennard, whose organization runs treatment programs on the North Shore. 'People are continuing to die at alarming rates because of these overdoses.'" (Travis Andersen & Jacob Geanous, "Feds give Mass. nearly $12 million to fight opioid abuse," Boston Globe, 4/25/17)
...That Warren Trivialized As She Justified Her Effort To Block The Bill
Warren tried to downplay the impact of the Cures Act funding. "Last year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren called $1 billion in federal funding for the opioid crisis 'a tiny fig leaf of funding' last December in arguing against passage of the 21st Century Cures Act. Today, that 'fig leaf' has nevertheless delivered the first $11.7 million to Massachusetts." (Jessica Bartlett, "State gets first $11.7M chunk of federal grant for opioid epidemic," Boston Business Journal, 4/25/17)
Last year, Warren opposed the funding, in a stunt she viewed as a test of her ability to get Democrats to sign onto her obstructionist agenda. "Warren’s stand also potentially splits her from the White House and other Democrats who are keen to secure various elements of the bill, which includes funding for Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative and its goal of accelerating advances in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. It also includes $1 billion over two years to combat the national opioid crisis, which has hit Massachusetts and the rest of New England hard.
"To Warren, the stakes are higher than just the legislation at hand. She is painting this as an early test of Democrats’ willingness to stand up to Republicans and block unpalatable legislation when Washington enters unified Republican rule next year." (Victoria McGrane, "Warren splits with party, Mass. interests over drug bill," Boston Globe, 11/30/16)