Daines, Tester join colleagues in passing sweeping panel of drug, addiction bills

Montana Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester joined a bipartisan effort in the U.S. Senate to help fight drug abuse and addiction across Montana, including opioids and meth, and stopping illegal drugs at the border.

The panel of bills, nearly 70 in all, passed on a 99-1 vote in what the Washington Post dubbed “a rare moment of bipartisanship.”

“The legislation before us will help combat an epidemic that touches the lives of almost every person in our country,” Daines said before the vote on the Senate floor.

“We’re seeing sad story after story on the effects of meth and drug use in Montana making headlines. At the federal level, our goal must be to partner with states and communities to overcome this devastating reality.”

Daines pushed to include a number of provisions in the package, including the Mitigating METH Act and the STOP Act, which looks to intercept illegal drugs at the border, as well other narcotics shipped through the U.S. Postal Service.

Tester said the package of bills will support federal, state and local initiatives aimed at treating addiction and combating drug trafficking. The legislation covers a range of drug-related issues and includes Tester-sponsored legislation, such as the Opioid Response Enhancement Act and ANTI-Drugs Act.

“If we’re going to get a grip on this crisis, we have to give folks on the ground the tools they need to prevent drug abuse and treat addiction – and that’s exactly what this legislation does,” Tester said. “By investing in initiatives with a proven track record of success, we are investing in a safer, healthier future for our kids and grandkids.”

Tester said the legislation invests $1.5 billion to help states treat substance abuse and addiction by reauthorizing funding for the Opioid Crisis Grant Program through 2021.