Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved by voice vote H.R. 6029, the Reauthorizing and Extending Grants for Recovery from Opioid Use Programs Act of 2018 (the REGROUP Act). This bill, introduced by Judiciary Committee member Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.), reauthorizes a federal grant program designed to combat the opioid epidemic enacted under the landmark Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

In 2016, more than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses. More than 20 percent of these deaths resulted from an overdose of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which can be as much as 100 times more powerful than painkillers such as morphine. The total number of opioid pain relievers prescribed in the United States has skyrocketed in the past 25 years and recent studies have shown that over half of chronic prescription drug abusers received the pills from friends or family.

To combat the opioid crisis, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act in 2016. Among this law’s provisions was the creation of a streamlined, comprehensive opioid abuse grant program that encompasses a variety of new and existing programs, such as vital training and resources for first responders and law enforcement, criminal investigations for the unlawful distribution of opioids, drug and other alternative treatment courts, and residential substance abuse treatment. The REGROUP Act extends this program for an additional two years and triples the authorized funding to $330 million for fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) applauded today’s House approval of the REGROUP Act in the statement below.

Chairman Goodlatte: “This week, the House has shown its commitment once again to fighting the opioid epidemic plaguing our nation. Two years ago, Congress passed and the President signed into law the historic Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. This law makes available many tools to address the opioid epidemic. Notably, it provides a comprehensive grant program at the Justice Department to help local governments address this issue head-on in their communities. The grant program provides resources to help treat those suffering from addiction and train first responders and law enforcement who are often first on the scene to respond to overdoses.

“Today, the House passed the REGROUP Act to reauthorize this important and successful program at a higher funding level so that state and local governments can have even greater access to tools to combat the opioid epidemic. I thank Congressman Rothfus for introducing this important bill and call on the Senate to pass it soon. Lives around the country continue to be lost due to this crisis and we must do all we can to protect Americans from this deadly problem.”