Landmark Bill regarding SUD education

Shatterproof applauds the passage of the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act (H.R. 2067/S. 2235), which was passed by Congress with bipartisan support today and is expected to be signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the year-end Omnibus Appropriations bill.

In June, the MATE Act was incorporated into a larger mental health package, the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022 (HR 7666), and passed the U.S. House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support. The MATE Act is a landmark bill focused on ensuring that each medical provider who obtains a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) license to prescribe controlled substances will receive baseline education on treating and managing patients with substance use disorders (SUDs). This is an historic moment, as this legislation has been in the making for more than three years.

The training indicated in the bill goes beyond safer prescribing of opioids, which many states already require,so that the nation’s healthcare professionals can become better equipped to respond to addiction crises. It states that each prescriber of controlled substances must receive one-time, eight hours of addiction education and training before receiving or renewing their DEA license. This measure will ensure that prescribers can identify and treat patients with SUDs, as there are currently more than 40 million Americans with these disorders. The training outlined in the bill must be provided by one or more accredited organizations or an accredited health professional school or residency program.

The legislation also includes the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act which removes the special waiver required for healthcare providers to dispense buprenorphine for opioid use disorder (OUD) maintenance or detoxification treatment. Research shows that buprenorphine treatment saves lives and is one of the most effective treatments for OUD, yet fewer than half of people with OUDs ever receive the life-saving medication. Passage of the MAT Act along with the MATE Act will enable better access to life-saving treatment.

A recent study conducted by Shatterproof, GE Foundation and Rize Massachusetts found that only one in four healthcare providers had received training on addiction during their medical education. The MATE Act mainstreams addiction medical education on SUDs across the nation’s medical educational programs. It further allows professional schools and residency programs to help their students fulfill the training requirement through a comprehensive curriculum.

“We commend Congress, and especially the bill’s sponsors and cosponsors, for passing the MATE Act for the sake of our loved ones and communities, and we thank our ambassadors and advocates for the more than 30,000 actions they took to urge the passing of this bill to spare countless other families from living with the pain of loss,” said Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of Shatterproof. “For too long, the lack of training and treatment has created a gap in care, resulting in countless Americans being unable to access evidence-based care for this chronic, treatable disease. The MATE Act normalizes and standardizes addiction care and empowers providers to better address the ongoing addiction crisis.”

The MATE Act is expected to be signed into law by President Biden before the current funding agreement expires on December 23, 2022. The legislation also:

  • Allows accredited medical schools and residency programs, physician assistant schools and schools of advanced practice nursing to fulfill the training requirement through a comprehensive curriculum that meets the standards laid out in statute, without having to coordinate the development of their education with an outside medical society or state licensing body.
  • Authorizes the federal government to appropriate grants to professional associations, universities, schools and medical programs to develop and implement high-quality, comprehensive SUD training for the purpose of integrating SUD education into the standard curricula of those organizations.

The bipartisan MATE Act would not be possible without bill sponsors Reps. Lori Trahan (D-MA), Buddy Carter (R-GA) and David Trone (D-MD), and Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Susan Collins (R-ME). 

Shatterproof worked closely with the American Society of Addiction Medicine on the passing of the MATE Act. The MATE Act is also supported by the American College of Medical Toxicology, CADA of Northwest Louisiana, Connecticut Certification Board, Faces and Voices of Recovery, The Kennedy Forum, National Council for Behavioral Health, National Safety Council, Partnership to End Addiction, SMART Recovery, and Young People in Recovery.

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