News Releases

Championed by Senator Murray, bipartisan package includes over 70 proposals from five Senate committees; moves one step closer to final passage

Senate passage follows additional strong investments in fight against opioid epidemic secured in recent bipartisan spending deal

A longtime advocate for efforts to curb addiction, Senator Murray has traveled extensively throughout WA for best practices to end opioid misuse, shared several stories from WA patients & others that helped inform legislation 

Senator Murray: “…even as I work to get this agreement across the finish line, I’m going to keep fighting for more support, more resources, and more solutions for the families in Washington state, and across the country, who are facing the heartbreak of this epidemic”

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE***

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, cheered the Senate passage of the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, bipartisan legislation including over 70 proposals from five Senate committees to tackle the growing challenge of opioid misuse in communities in Washington state and around the country. In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator Murray shared stories she heard during her conversations with patients, families, medical providers, government officials, community leaders, and more in Washington state, and how those stories helped inform the policies included in the bill to address the root causes and ripple effects of opioid misuse.

“This agreement is a much-needed and long-overdue step forward to help those on the frontlines of this epidemic to address its root causes and ripple effects, including some of the issues I heard about firsthand in Washington state. I heard from hospital staff about how many of the babies they deliver are born with neo-natal abstinence syndrome—battling symptoms of opioid withdrawal—which is why I fought to make sure this agreement includes support for state efforts to improve plans of safe care for children born to mothers battling addiction, and also ensures the Health Department is implementing strategies already identified to protect moms and babies from the effects of opioid substance use. I heard from an elementary school principal about how some of his students are having trouble focusing in class as they deal with the trauma of a family member’s addiction at home, which is why I fought to make sure this agreement includes provisions to develop a taskforce and grants to help support trauma-informed care programs, and increase access to mental health care for children in their communities—including their schools…even as I work to get this agreement across the finish line, I’m going to keep fighting for more support, more resources, and more solutions for the families in Washington state, and across the country, who are facing the heartbreak of this epidemic.”

Senator Murray, a longtime champion of efforts to curb to addiction, worked at length to help find federal solutions to the nation’s growing opioid epidemic, including travelling extensively throughout Washington state over the past several years to better understand the impact of the opioid epidemic on families and communities, and sharing these stories with her Senate colleagues in Washington, D.C. as she has worked for policies to help stem the tide of opioid misuse. Recently, Senator Murray worked successfully to strengthen federal investments in efforts to end opioid misuse and address the ripple effects of the opioid crisis on families and communities, including securing a $2.7 billion increase in funding to address the opioid crisis in a bipartisan spending deal Congress passed earlier this month.  

Watch video of Senator Murray’s floor speech HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech below:

“Thank you M. President.

“I’ve heard from people across Washington state about the need to respond to the opioid crisis and its tragic impact on so many families and communities.

“I’ve visited with people from communities in Seattle, and Everett, and Longview, and heard from many other families across my state as well.

“And I know my colleagues, across the aisle and across the nation, have heard from constituents about the urgency of this crisis as well.

“So I’m glad today the Senate is able to come together and pass the Opioid Crisis Response Act—the bipartisan legislation I’ve been working on with Senator Alexander and so many others.

“This bill is a bipartisan compromise. It’s not what I would have written on my own, and I know it’s not what any one of my colleagues would have written on their own.

“Instead, it’s the result of more than 70 proposals, from members on both sides of the aisle.

“And, this is very important—the bill we voted on today doesn’t reflect the full agreement struck between Democrats and Republicans.

“I am very glad Chairman Alexander and Republican leaders have worked with us as this bill hit the final stretch here in the Senate…

“And that they committed to a number of specific changes beyond the text of this bill, to make sure we could have this vote today and keep working to get it signed into law.

“The text of our final agreement has been released—and I am hoping Republican leaders live up to their commitment to take this agreement into conference and work by our side in conference to get this done in the bipartisan manner it began.

“Because M. President, this agreement goes to show that when we work together, when we focus on the problems families are actually facing, when we look for common ground and common sense solutions…

“…we can actually craft impactful legislation.

“This agreement is a much-needed and long-overdue step forward to help those on the frontlines of this epidemic to address its root causes and ripple effects.

“Including some of the issues I heard about firsthand in Washington state…

“I heard from hospital staff about how many of the babies they deliver are born with neo-natal abstinence syndrome—battling symptoms of opioid withdrawal…

“Which is why I fought to make sure this agreement includes support for state efforts to improve plans of safe care for children born to mothers battling addiction, and also ensures the Health Department is implementing strategies already identified to protect moms and babies from the effects of opioid substance use.

“I heard from an elementary school principal about how some of his students are having trouble focusing in class as they deal with the trauma of a family member’s addiction at home.

“Which is why I fought to make sure this agreement includes provisions to develop a taskforce and grants to help support trauma-informed care programs, and increase access to mental health care for children in their communities—including their schools.

“And I heard from many more experts and everyday people as the HELP Committee held a series of bipartisan hearings focused on the opioid crisis.

“We heard about the many different faces of this epidemic and the broad challenges we need to consider to make sure we address its root causes and ripple effects.

“Which is why I’ve worked with my colleagues to make sure this agreement also includes provisions to address the economic and workforce impacts of the opioid crisis.

“Like support for training to help the nearly one million people out of work due to opioid addiction to gain and retain employment.

“Washington state has already received a grant for this important work to get workers back on their feet after battling addiction, so I’m glad we could expand this valuable grant program.

“M. President, this bipartisan package of proposals is an important step to help families and communities on the frontlines of the opioid crisis.

“And I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to see it signed into law. 

“But while this bill is an important step, it is by no means a final one. We have a lot more to do to end the tragedy and address the harm of the ongoing crisis.

“So even as I work to get this agreement across the finish line, I’m going to keep fighting for more support, more resources, and more solutions for the families in Washington state, and across the country, who are facing the heartbreak of this epidemic.

“Thank you.”