No matter what we look like or where we come from the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that at our core we are all human. Whether we live in rural counties, small towns, suburban areas or big cities; whether we’re black, brown or white…
The COVID 19 pandemic reminds us that our ability to get and stay well depends on everyone having what we need to prevent, treat, and recover from illness. But wide-ranging unemployment, isolation, stress, despair, and lack of healthcare is putting our lives at risk.
Emerging evidence suggests that drug overdose rates nationwide could top 100,000 - an almost 50% increase over the deadliest year on record. Overdose deaths are worsening during COVID-19.
The next COVID-19 relief package needs to include money for harm reduction providers, who engage individuals who use drugs and are vulnerable to adverse drug-related outcomes and COVID-19. Funding these group, through syringe services programs, will help communities meet the needs of people and save lives.
We call on the Senate leadership to include an additional $58 million for harm reduction and syringe services programs (SSPs) and other harm reduction service providers.
Additionally, we ask for the removal of the ban on the use of federal funds to purchase syringes and other related supplies in the next COVID-19 relief package and in the FY22 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill.