As reported the week of Oct. 8, Congress has sent to the White House a major initiative, designed to provide new tools to combat the national opioid epidemic. Despite the rancor and polarization most issues seem to cause, this battle has been generated broad bi-partisan cooperation.
H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act will advance treatment and recovery initiatives, improve prevention, protect communities, and bolster efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl.
The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act follows the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act last Congress, the $4 billion appropriated in 2018 the omnibus earlier this year to help combat the opioid crisis, as well as the $6.7 billion included in the recent Defense-Labor-HHS appropriations package to boost programs that fight, treat, and stop substance abuse, and support access to mental health services. This is the most significant congressional effort against a single drug crisis in history.
Provisions in the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act will advance:
Treatment and Recovery
• Improve and expand access to treatment and recovery services
• Provide incentives for enhanced care, coordination, and innovation
• Establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers
• Encourage non-addictive opioid alternatives to treat pain
• Improve data to identify and help at-risk patients and families
• Address high prescribing rates while enhancing prescription drug monitoring programs
• Give law enforcement tools to get dangerous drugs out of our communities
• Better intercept illicit opioids at international mail facilities
• Improve access to federal resources for local communities
• Better tackle ever-changing synthetic drugs
• Crackdown on foreign shipments of illicit drugs
• Provide grants for local communities to combat fentanyl
Among the provisions designed to assist local government efforts are:
Section 7002 - Expands grants for first responder training to include training on safety;
Section 7031 – Requires US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop recovery housing best practices, and indicators that could be used to identify ‘fraudulent’ recovery house operators;
Section 7102 - Requires HHS Secretary, in consultation with US Secretary of Education, to supply best practices, and provide grants, for prevention and recovery for youths and young adults;
Section 7134 – Authorizes US Secretary of Education to make grants to link educational institutions with mental health systems to provide trauma support;
Section 7151 – Reauthorizes the Building Communities of Recovery program to provide funding for long-term recovery support services, including peer support networks; and
Section 8092 – Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to reauthorize the US Department of Justice (DOJ) opioid abuse grant program, through 2023.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x121.