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ENA Praises Zika and Opioid Funding in Stopgap Spending Bill

September 30, 2016 Infectious Diseases Legislation News
DES PLAINES, Ill. (September 30, 2016) – The Emergency Nurses Association today praised Congress for passing and President Obama for signing a short-term spending bill that includes funding to battle the Zika virus and the opioid epidemic, two of ENA’s top federal legislative priorities.

The bill includes $1.1 billion in emergency aid to halt the spread of the Zika virus and $37 million in new opioid funding. The opioid money is designed to support grant programs stemming from the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) immediately instead of waiting until Congress passes a full-year funding bill. CARA was signed into law in July.

“Funding to fight the Zika virus and the opioid epidemic is a big win for public health,” said ENA President Kathleen E. Carlson, MSN, RN, CEN, FAEN. “Emergency department visits linked to misuse or abuse of prescription opioids have risen by more than 50 percent since 2004. And, there is currently no vaccine against the Zika virus. This funding will help public health officials keep the virus contained.”

The legislation passed the House Wednesday night on a 342-85 vote, and earlier in the day passed through the Senate, 72-26. Congress will return after the November 8 election to continue working on a long-term spending bill.

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