Press Room

ASTHO Statement on the Bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act

ARLINGTON, VA (Sept. 10, 2018)—Michael Fraser, CEO of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), issued the following statement in response to the release of the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, a bipartisan package to address the opioid epidemic.

“The Senate’s Opioid Crisis Response Act will further support our nation’s state and territorial health agencies’ progress in addressing one of the worst public health crises our nation faces today. Specifically, the bill will help support the ongoing work of preventing addiction by authorizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to further support state prescription drug monitoring programs; improve data collection, analysis, and dissemination; and create an interagency task force to identify, prevent, and mitigate the effects of trauma on infants, children, youth, and their families.”

“These are good steps forward. While this bill is comprehensive in its approach, it does not include enough provisions to support community-based public health programs that prevent individuals from misusing opioids and other substances in the first place, which is the best way to end our nation’s epidemic. Primary prevention needs to be a core component in future legislation and we look forward to working with congressional leadership to incorporate state needs and priorities in future bills.”

“We are especially concerned about the return of sequestration next year. In FY20, non-defense discretionary funding is slated to receive a $55 billion cut from current levels. Unless Congress implements a budget deal to address this near-term fiscal challenge, the promises of this legislation will not be realized. In addition to authorizing new programs, Congress also must prioritize appropriating resources to implement them.”


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.