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MEDIA ADVISORY: HELP Committee to Hold Markup on the SUPPORT Act and ESRA

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 – Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ranking Member Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) announced today that they have reached an agreement to markup legislation reauthorizing the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act and the Education Sciences Reform (ESRA) Act on Tuesday, December 12 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Said Chairman Sanders: “We have an opioid and substance abuse crisis in America that we have got to address. It is absolutely unacceptable that more than 100,000 people in America died from an overdose last year with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids playing a role in nearly 70% of those tragic deaths. I am pleased that we have reached a bipartisan agreement to reauthorize and expand the SUPPORT Act to begin to address this epidemic in America. Let’s be clear: This is a very modest piece of legislation. Much more needs to be done to address this crisis. Over the long-term, we have got to substantially increase the number of substance abuse counselors and mental health professionals in America, among many other things. As Chairman of the HELP Committee, I will do everything I can to make that happen. I am also delighted that we have come to an agreement on bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act. This legislation will ensure that high-quality and timely research gets into the hands of teachers and principals so that they can improve teaching and learning in our nation’s schools.”

“Thousands of Americans are dying each month from opioid and drug overdoses. Reauthorizing the SUPPORT Act is crucial to better address the opioid epidemic. Glad to see the Committee taking up this important legislation.” said Dr. Cassidy. “ESRA provides research and data to inform our nation’s education system. Reauthorizing and improving this legislation helps ensure our students receive evidence-based instruction to meet their unique educational needs.”

In response to the opioid epidemic, Congress passed the SUPPORT Act in 2018 – legislation which focused on prevention, treatment, and recovery services for opioid misuse, including fentanyl. While many provisions of the SUPPORT Act expired in September 2023, Congress has continued funding these programs.

ESRA, which is set to be reauthorized through the Advancing Research in Education Act (AREA), was enacted in 2002 and expired in 2008. In April of 2023, Sanders and Cassidy requested input from educators, school leaders, local and state educational agencies, education organizations, researchers, families, communities, and other interested parties on policies the HELP Committee should consider during the reauthorization of ESRA to improve education research and evidence use in the classroom.

The four bills that the Committee will be voting on are:

  • S. 1840, SCREENS for Cancer Act of 2023
  • S. 3392, Advancing Research in Education (AREA) Act
  • S. 3393, SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act
  • S. 644, Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act


What: Senate HELP Committee Markup
When: 10:00 a.m. ET Tuesday, December 12, 2023
Where: 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building. The executive session will also be livestreamed on the HELP Committee’s website.
Who: Senate HELP Committee Members