Last week, House and Senate leaders agreed on a final legislative package aimed at addressing our country’s drug overdose epidemic. The bill easily passed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, and was signed into law by President Trump on October 24.
The Shatterproof community has been closely involved in this process all year. On the ground in D.C., we’ve actively participated as panelists at briefings and roundtables on the crisis and met with key legislators and staff, sharing Shatterproof’s perspective and research. And all across the country, grassroots advocates like you have been making your voices heard loud and clear in support of evidence-based addiction policy. Together, you contacted your representatives about this legislation over 10,000 times!
We advocated hard for a number of key provisions, and many of those policies made the final cut. Here are some of Shatterproof’s biggest legislative wins within Congress’ opioid package:
- Section 3204, allowing injectable or implantable opioid addiction treatments to be delivered by pharmacies to a doctor's office
- Section 5042, requiring Medicaid providers to check their state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) before prescribing a Schedule II controlled substance, like oxycodone. This provision also encourages Medicaid providers to integrate PDMP usage into their clinical workflow, establishes standard criteria for PDMPs to meet in order to be counted as qualified, and requires state Medicaid programs to report to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on PDMP data.
- Section 5052, the IMD Care Act, which gives states the option to lift the cap on the number of beds in an accredited residential treatment facility, provided the facility offers medication-assisted treatment and meets standards of care
- Section 6001, which promotes the testing of incentive payments for behavioral health providers when they adopt and use certified health record technology
- Section 7071, which creates a loan repayment program for substance use disorder treatment professionals in counties hardest hit by drug overdoses
- Section 7081, the Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms Act, which provides resources for hospitals to develop protocols on discharging opioid overdose patients. These protocols would include providing the patient with naloxone, connecting the patients with peer-support specialists, referring the patient to treatment, and other services that best fit the patient’s needs
- Section 7111, the RESULTS Act, which directs the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to encourage the use of evidence-based best practices among entities applying for grants
- Sections 7171 and 7162, which authorizes CDC support for states to improve their PDMPs, collect public health data, and implement other evidence-based prevention strategies
- The STOP Act, which seeks to stop opioids like fentanyl from coming into the United States from other countries through international mail
These provisions will improve care for people with substance use disorders, increase access to effective evidence-based treatments, and ultimately save lives.
This bipartisan legislative package is a great step forward, and advocates like you should be proud for participating in the process and urging Congress to act. Thank you for your support and your commitment throughout this legislative battle!
We’re not finished yet, though. Last year was the opioid epidemic’s most devastating year on record, with 72,000 Americans dying needlessly from overdoses. More can and must be done to save lives and stop the devastation.
Federal and state lawmakers must continue to make addiction a top legislative priority. And you can help make this happen. Stay tuned for updates, and let's keep up the fight for comprehensive policy change that will ensure that substance use disorders are treated just like any other disease.