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Tell Congress to Support Tribal Sovereignty in Fight Against the Opioid/Fentanyl Crisis

This Wednesday, November 8, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) will hold a hearing on “Fentanyl in Native Communities: Native Perspectives on Addressing the Growing Crisis.”

On October 20, 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration sent Congress a list of emergency supplemental spending that includes a request for $250 million to the Indian Health Service to fight the opioid/fentanyl crisis. This investment is proposed as part of a $1.55 billion investment into Opioid Response grants through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Overall, the proposal represents a historic 16 percent set-aside of emergency opioid response funding for Tribes and Tribal organizations.

On November 6, the National Indian Health Board, National Congress of American Indians, Self-Governance Communication and Education Tribal Consortium, and the National Council on Urban Indian Health wrote a letter to Congressional leadership in support of the request for emergency opioid response funding.

Why it Matters:

There is no guarantee that Congress will take up this request. This sort of supplemental spending request has no binding requirement. Further, calling it “emergency” spending is a policy term that means it doesn’t count against caps on federal spending. Even with a non-partisan issue like addiction, we will probably see partisanship between Democrats and Republicans ramp up as we get closer to the 2024 election.

Since the Fiscal Responsibility Act set caps on spending through 2025, emergency supplemental spending may be the best chance for Tribal health programs to receive a meaningful increase this funding cycle. However, it could be perceived as avoiding spending caps by some.

This means constant pressure on Congress and the Administration to take action and not leave Tribes and Tribal Organizations behind will remain critical.

Get Involved:

Contact your Congressional representatives and tell them to support emergency funding for Tribes and Tribal Organizations to fight the opioid/fentanyl addiction crisis in America.

  • We support emergency funding for IHS to fight the addiction crisis in our communities and across America.

  • Tribes and Tribal Organizations are uniquely reliant on federal spending based on past U.S. policies. 

  • Tribes paid, in full, for the duties owed by the United States. Native lives are not a political bargaining chip. 

Reach out to your Press contacts and urge them to write about how the Opioid/Fentanyl Crisis impacts you and your community.

Use the below form letter to write your Congressional representatives and amplify your voice in the negotiation.

For questions or more information, please email Caitrin Shuy, Government Relations Director, at [email protected] or Tyler Scribner, Budget and Appropriations Director, at [email protected].

Read the Biden-Harris Administration’s Emergency Spending Request
Download the Form Letter in Support of Emergency Spending
Tribal Organizations' Letter to Congress in Support of Emergency Opioid/FentanylCrisis Funding
Schedule with Congress in 4 Easy Steps

National Indian Health Board | | 202-507-4070

Visit the NIHB COVID-19 Tribal Resource Center at:

For media inquiries, contact Ned Johnson at [email protected].

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