U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is applauding the Senate’s passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes emergency federal funding to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic, significant reforms to the mental health system, and funding for medical research on cancer and other diseases. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives last week, and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
Blumenthal says investment is key to saving lives. He notes that the bill will also spur landmark action in the effort to address Lyme Disease, and increases support for groundbreaking medical research.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, author of the bipartisan Mental Health Reform Act praised the 94-5 Senate vote. He called the measures the most comprehensive reform of the nation's mental health laws in a generation. He says the bill means millions of dollars in new treatment, and a pathway to a better integrated, more coordinated system for people with serious mental illness. The Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 served as the basis for the mental health language included in the bill passed Wednesday.
Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Mark Barden, whose son was killed at Sandy Hook School, praised the measure. He says it speaks to the very core of their mission--preventing other families from having to live with the pain of the loss of a loved one to preventable acts of violence. Barden says the gunman on 12/14 was suffering mental illness and his mother didn't know what to do with him. If something like the Mental Health Act of 2016 were in place then, Barden says the quality mental health care that person needed would have been available to them.