Advocates for Opioid Recovery applauds SUPPORT Act (H.R. 6) signing
Bipartisan group urges expeditious implementation and further public-private collaboration
Washington, DC – October 24, 2018 – Advocates for Opioid Recovery (AOR) applauds the signing of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), and specifically the provisions breaking down barriers to long-term recovery. More than 134 people die tragically of an opioid overdose every day in the United States.
“In alignment with AOR’s bipartisan spirit, we are encouraged that Congress and the President have set aside party differences to pass a bill that will positively impact Americans on the path to recovery from opioid addiction,” said Anne Woodbury, AOR’s Executive Director. “While we are pleased that H.R. 6 is now law, it is one significant step in a journey that is far from over. The bill needs to be implemented quickly, and we must see more urgency and collaboration by the public and private sectors.”
AOR partnered with stakeholders including the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD) and the Collaborative for Effective Prescription Opioid Policies (CEPOP) to urge Congress to extend Medicare coverage to opioid treatment programs (OTPs) – the most cost-effective, evidence-based treatment modality for opioid use disorder. Medicare previously did not cover these life-saving programs. Some Medicaid programs still do not.
Congress took into account the decades of evidence supporting these programs and included a provision that will provide access to OTPs for the estimated 300,000 Medicare beneficiaries living with opioid use disorder.
For Americans like Barry, a 70-year-old Medicare beneficiary who currently spends half of his monthly Social Security check on methadone treatment, this new law will have a life-changing impact.
Upon learning that the bill was passed, Barry said, “Congress did a very good thing for all of us seniors by passing the opioid package bill. When President Trump signs it into law, we seniors in opioid treatment will finally be able to afford treatment and have monies left to buy gas and pay for our homes. Maybe even a little food too!”
Advocates for Opioid Recovery’s policy priorities center on eliminating the bias against addiction, expanding treatment capacity, enforcing insurance parity laws, and expanding evidence-based recovery within the criminal justice system. AOR supported a number of other provisions included in the bill, such as those that:
- Fund a demonstration project for enhanced federal matching of substance use treatment and recovery services in Medicaid
- Allow doctors, nurses practitioners, and physician assistants to provide medication-assisted treatment to more patients by codifying rules expanding DATA 2000 prescribers
- Open the doors to allow providers to treat and prescribe addiction treatment via telemedicine
- Continue to provide grants to mobilize resources within a recovery community to increase the prevalence and quality of long-term recovery support
- Develop a pilot program to begin addressing the economic and workforce impacts of the opioid crisis
As the SUPPORT Act is implemented, AOR will work closely with advisors former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, and civil rights activist Van Jones to advocate for expeditious implementation and adequate funding, regulation, and enforcement of the recovery provisions of the law. Additionally, AOR will push for ongoing research and analysis to ensure that the steps taken at a federal level actually help people transition from addiction into long-term recovery.
About Advocates for Opioid Recovery
Advocates for Opioid Recovery is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing a science-based, evidence-based treatment system that can reduce death and suffering from opioid addiction, and produce more long-term opioid addiction survivors who are positively engaged in their families and communities. For more information, visit www.opioidrecovery.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.