Dear Senators Cornyn and Whitehouse,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong support for S. 3740, the “Supporting Treatment and Recovery Over Narcotics for Growth, Empowerment, and Rehabilitation (STRONGER) Act.” This bipartisan bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent in the previous Congress, and we look forward to working with you both to pass it again this year.
There is a tremendous need for substance abuse treatments for those who are incarcerated. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has estimated that as many as 65% of detainees have a diagnosed substance use disorder. They have also indicated that 20% of these individuals were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they were apprehended. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report that showed that approximately 100,000 Americans have died as a result of an overdose since April 2021. This is nearly a 30% increase from the same period in 2020. Most of these deaths, more than 75,000, have come from opioids such as fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances. The NIDA has also indicated that 15% of individuals incarcerated have an opioid use disorder. This nationwide problem has only worsened and shows no signs of stopping. Congress must act to address this issue that is impacting communities at all levels.
This legislation reauthorizes the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners (RSAT) grant program through FY 2026 at $40 million annually and would make substantial improvements to the program. It would require that appropriate medical personnel are trained in the science of addiction and have knowledge of the latest research regarding substance abuse. This bill would expand options for treating substance use disorders by explicitly allowing programs to adopt and use approved medication-assisted treatments. It would also require that programs be affiliated with providers who can administer medications for treatment after incarceration. These changes will help to ensure continued care for the incarcerated and reduce the chance of relapse or recidivism.
On behalf of the more than 373,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you both for your leadership on this issue. If I can provide any additional information on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.
CC: Karla Pruneda, President, Texas State Lodge
John Donley President, Rhode Island State Lodge