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Friday, October 5, 2018

Opioid Addiction Legislation Finalized

opioid addiction
In a rare instance of bipartisan support, lawmakers in the U.S. Senate has finalized a version of a package of bills written to address the American opioid addiction epidemic, The Washington Post reports. It would seem that putting an end to the more than 100 overdose deaths each day is one of the only things that our elected officials can agree upon, and not a moment too soon. Last year, more than 70,000 men and women lost their lives to a fatal overdose. More than two million individuals are in the grips of an opioid use disorder, and millions more are wrestling with substance use-related problems.

While the Senate is right to hail their collective achievement to tackle opioid addiction, there are some doubts among experts that the package will accomplish its goal; we will address such concerns later in this article. The vote to pass the Senate opioid package came in at 98-1; last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of legislation 393 to 8, according to the article. All that remains left to do is for POTUS to sign the package, which is likely to happen any day now as lawmakers step up their efforts for reƫlection.

In the following passages, we will discuss some of the critical points of the legislation, what’s there and what is missing. A collaborative effort to address the Nation’s most severe public health crisis is crucial, especially concerning the ever-growing prevalence of synthetic opioids like fentanyl.


Tackling Opioid Addiction Requires Funding

First, let’s take a look at some of the most notable features of the package of legislation to address the opioid epidemic. The package calls for $8.5 billion for opioid-related programs this year to expand and reauthorize programs and policies across almost every federal agency. The primary targets of the various bills are prevention, treatment, and recovery. The key pieces of legislation include:
  • A measure creating a grant program for addiction treatment centers that include housing, life skills training, and mental and physical health care.
  • A bill altering a decades-old rule prohibiting Medicaid from covering patients with substance use disorders being treated in a mental health facility with more than 16 beds. 30 days of residential treatment coverage are now permissible.
  • Legislation requiring the U.S. Postal Service to screen packages for synthetic opioids coming from overseas, particularly China.
  • A bill increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, or MAT.
Even though some public health advocates support the package of bills, several experts have significant concerns over funding, the article reports. The $8.5 billion for opioid-related programs is for just one year and no assurances that the bills will find financing in the years to come. Some lawmakers have called for an exponential funding increase commensurate with what Congress appropriated to address the HIV and AIDS epidemic; interestingly, the opioid package is modeled on Congress’ response to HIV/AIDS in the 1990’s.

“This legislation edges us closer to treating addiction as the devastating disease it is, but it neglects to provide the long-term investment we’ve seen in responses to other major public health crises,” said Lindsey Vuolo, Associate Director of Health Law and Policy at Center on Addiction. “We won’t be able to make meaningful progress against the tide of addiction unless we make significant changes to incorporate addiction treatment into the existing health care system.”


Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help you break the cycle of opioid addiction and give you the tools for leading a productive, meaningful life in recovery. Please reach out to us today to learn more about our medically supervised and top-quality care. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.