In memory of Summer Barrow: $900M earmarked for substance addiction prevention
President Joe Biden yesterday signed into law legislation to provide $900 million of support for programs that combat substance use disorder and addiction in Virginia and across the country.
Signed into law as part of the end-of-year funding deal, the Summer Barrow Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act will increase federal investment in programs to combat substance use disorder and addiction.
The legislation, first introduced by Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) earlier this year, is named in memory of Summer Barrow, a young Virginian who died of a fentanyl overdose in January 2020.
This legislation authorizes annual funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to support American communities’ fight against the substance use disorder epidemic. Specifically, the bill would reauthorize several substance use disorder programs which focus on overdose prevention, first responder training, co-prescribing programs, pregnant and postpartum women substance use disorder treatment, and alternatives to opioids in emergency rooms.
“In recent years, Virginia has seen record rates of overdose and overdose-related deaths, and I’ve had heartbreaking conversations with the families of parents who have lost children to addiction and eventual overdose,” said Spanberger. “Many of these parents — including Summer’s mom — have turned to advocacy, in an effort to prevent other families from experiencing these horrible tragedies.
“I’ve been honored to lead this legislation in Summer’s name and to help lead the charge to support states’ and communities’ work to combat addiction — particularly as we battle the opioid crisis.”
Carey Colvin, the mother of Summer Barrow, said the family finds solace in the fact that the programs in the act will offer support for those who are struggling with substance use disorder.
“This epidemic concerns every American and has taken far too many lives, including the life of my daughter. No one actively decides to be an addict or chooses to develop mental health issues and this Act offers several avenues of treatment,” said Colvin. “There are no appropriate words to express how much we miss Summer. Like so many who have lost their struggle with substance use disorder, she would never have intentionally caused the grief that continues to envelop us. She would be comforted in knowing that she is part of a legacy that offers hope to others.”