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Sen. Booker Statement on Passage of 21st Century Cures Act

December 7, 2016
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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) applauded Senate passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation that sets up a comprehensive medical research framework in areas ranging from helping states fight the opioid epidemic facing our nation to landmark investments in cancer research.

“Heroin addiction and opioid abuse have reached epidemic levels in the United States, and Congressional action on a plan to attack this crisis is long overdue. This legislation is a significant step towards giving states like New Jersey the resources they need to prevent and treat addiction and to save lives,” said Sen. Booker. “The 21
st Century Cures Act will also strengthen medical research and help some of our most at-risk populations. It takes additional important steps in answering the Vice President’s call for a moonshot in cancer research, makes critical investments in biomedical research to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s, increases access to mental health care, and strengthens National Institutes of Health programming. 

“I had strong concerns about provisions regarding drug approvals and transparency that I’m glad were modified, and I would prefer greater assurances that the funds for future years will be used for vital opioid services and cancer research, but proponents will need to remain vigilant to ensure the funds are spent as intended. I’m glad the House and Senate are finally advancing vital legislation that will help American families and look forward to President Obama signing it into law,” concluded Sen. Booker.

Sen. Booker has been long committed to supporting the fight against our nation’s opioid epidemic.  In March Sen. Booker was joined by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09) in convening a statewide summit to explore solutions to the heroin and opioid addiction epidemic gripping New Jersey and the nation.

In August, Sens. Booker and Menendez hosted a panel discussion with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health David Shulkin at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey on the heroin and opioid addiction crisis in New Jersey.

Sen. Booker also successfully advocated
for the expansion of the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program to include Monmouth County in New Jersey, which has experienced a sharp rise in both heroin and opioid use and trafficking.  The designation, which Sens. Booker and Menendez announced in October, will allow Monmouth County to receive Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among federal, state, local law enforcement officials.

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