Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced new legislation to expand the funding and resources to help treat those with prescription drug and heroin addiction. According to the senator’s website, the Treatment and Recovery Investment Act increases funding for states so they can better assist individuals with substance use disorders, including pregnant or parenting women and adolescents.
The second piece of legislation, the Supporting Positive Outcomes After Release Act, will prohibit states from terminating an inmates’ Medicaid coverage while they are incarcerated, a practice that often prevents individuals from accessing treatment in the critical days and weeks after release. Markey joined with the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs ranking member Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs ranking member Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) to call on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the availability of addiction treatment services and the overuse of opioid painkillers in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health system.
“We need 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,” Markey said in a statement. “My legislation will increase the federal funds available to states and communities so they can expand treatment to wherever and whenever it is needed. It will also help ensure that released inmates have the coverage they need to get treatment when they re-enter the community.”
The Treatment and Recovery Investment Act:
- Increases funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block grant. Unfortunately, this program authorization hasn’t kept up with inflation, decreasing purchasing power for the states dealing with the issue of opiate addiction. The legislation sets the funding level at $2.27 billion and will ensure that the state block grant increases to keep up with inflation every year.
- Creates a grant program specifically to fund treatment and recovery for opioid use disorders in states where there is high use or overdoses relating to prescription painkillers or heroin. This program is authorized at $27 million.
- Provides more funding aimed to improving access and integration of primary care with substance abuse services for pregnant and parenting women. This program is authorized at $15 million.
- Strengthens substance abuse and recovery services for adolescents, with a specific emphasis for increasing capacity of residential services for adolescents. This program is authorized at $25 million.
- Directs investment towards the expansion of community-based recovery support services for individuals with substance use disorders. This program is authorized at $7 million.
A copy of the Treatment and Recovery Investment Act can be found HERE.
The Supporting Positive Outcomes After Release Act prohibits states from terminating eligible individual’s Medicaid because of incarceration, and instead, with coverage only temporarily suspended, ensure access to healthcare services more quickly upon release. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
A copy of the Supporting Positive Outcomes After Release Act can be found HERE.