Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts has introduced numerous bills to combat the rising opioid epidemic that has shaken the country. The proposed legislation aims to improve treatment options for those who struggle with the disease of addiction. The bill promotes increases in funding for treatment, improved coverage of former inmates who seek recovery and ensures safer prescribing practices by physicians.
Senator Markey recently introduced the Treatment and Recovery Act, which proposes to increase funding for drug addiction treatment programs. The new legislation aims to expand the funding and resources needed to treat heroin and opioid addicted patients. Markey stated, “If you are an addict and you need a bed, a doctor, a counselor, a group, even just a helping hand, you should have it.” The Treatment and Recovery Act increases funding for improving the state’s treatment options for people who struggle with drug addiction. Markey notes, “When treatment that is effective and affordable is made available, people’s lives can be saved. We need to a massive effort at the federal, state and local level to expand treatment and recovery services and get help to those who need it most.”
Some proposed benefits of the Treatment and Recovery Act include:
1. Increased funding for the Treatment Block and Substance Abuse grant, which is fundamental to state’s drug abuse treatment, prevention and recovery systems.
2. Provides increased funding towards improving access to and implementation of primary care for parents and pregnant women.
3. Improves drug addiction treatment services for adolescents while increasing the capacity of inpatient treatment programs to housed adolescent patients.
4. Creates a grant to fund treatment options for opioid addiction in states where abuse is prevalent and opioid and heroin-related deaths are high.
5. Allocates investments towards expanding community-based recovery programs for people suffering from drug addiction
Roughly 85 percent of inmates in the U.S. have a history with substance abuse or have been imprisoned for a crime that is related to drug use. Many of these former inmates, upon release from the criminal justice system, are in great need of health care. However, their ability to access the proper services is limited because many states will cancel their Medicaid coverage. Markey’s secondary legislation, the Supporting Positive Outcomes After Release Act, forbids states from terminating former inmates’ Medicaid coverage due to imprisonment. Instead of terminating their coverage, Marky ensures that these people have access health care promptly upon their release.
Unfortunately, the authorization of this program has not been kept up-to-date with inflation, which has decreased the state’s ability to purchase the necessary resources to improve drug addiction treatment. Markey’s legislation proposes funding of $2.27 billion and guarantees that the state block grant will be increased, making sure that the legislation keeps up with inflation.
Senator Markey has proposed other legislation measures to combat the opioid epidemic, such as a prescription education bill. The Safer Prescribing of Controlled Substances Act requires all physicians who are applying for a license from the Drug Enforcement Agency to undergo training covering proper pain management protocols, safe prescribing, diagnosis of drug addiction, managing drug diversion and connecting patients with effective treatment options.
The opioid addiction epidemic has increased dramatically for over a decade and is the leading cause of drug overdoses in the U.S. Sovereign Health Group is among the leading drug addiction treatment providers in the nation. We offer a variety of inpatient and outpatient treatment options for patients who are struggling with drug addiction, mental illnesses and dual diagnosis. If you know someone who is struggling with drug addiction and is in need of treatment, please do not hesitate to call. You may contact us at 888-530-4614. Our admissions helpline is open 24/7 and one of our treatment specialists will assist you in finding the right treatment option for you.
Written by Benjamin Creekmore, Sovereign Health Group writer