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Shaheen Introduces Legislation to Significantly Increase Availability of Substance Use Disorder Treatment in New Hampshire and Across the Country

CJS at opioid bill presser

Shaheen Announces Turn the Tide Act at New Futures, Concord

**SHAHEEN: “The Turn the Tide Act is a substantial long-term investment in getting more Granite Staters, and Americans across the country, on the road to recovery”** 

** Turn the Tide Act has three pillars: it delivers flexible funding, prioritizes prevention and addresses workforce challenges**

**Epidemic is taking over 70,000 lives a year and costing economy $500 billion** 

**$63 billion proposal follows Shaheen’s successful efforts, in partnership with the NH Delegation, to deliver a 1000% increase in opioid treatment funding** 

(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced groundbreaking legislation to help New Hampshire and the nation battle the substance use disorder epidemic. The Turn the Tide Act provides $63 billion in funding over ten years to deliver flexible treatment funding to providers, establish proven prevention programs, and address the substantial workforce challenges in the treatment field. This legislation continues Shaheen’s leadership in Congress to provide New Hampshire resources to battle this crisis.

The substance use disorder epidemic is taking over 70,000 lives a year nationally and costing the economy approximately $500 billion according to one Trump administration estimate.  

“The substance use disorder epidemic is not only the worst public health crisis in our state’s history, it is also the most persistent,” said Shaheen. “Hundreds of overdose deaths a year in New Hampshire cannot become the norm – we have to continue battling this epidemic until we’ve turned the tide and the federal government can be doing much more to help hard-hit states like ours. Every death represents a family member, a friend or a coworker lost. Despite progress in making more federal resources available to our state, the sad truth is that New Hampshire still doesn’t have the capacity and resources to get treatment to everyone who needs it. The Turn the Tide Act is a substantial long-term investment in getting more Granite Staters, and Americans across the country, on the road to recovery.

Shaheen continued, “This crisis is constantly evolving, which is why I’ve incorporated feedback into this bill from treatment providers across the state who say they need flexibility to use federal funding to treat patients using drugs other than opioids, like meth and cocaine. Addiction is a disease and it doesn’t limit itself to one substance, so our efforts to combat it shouldn’t be constrained to treating one substance use disorder at a time either.  This bill is a comprehensive approach that invests in the prevention programs that have proven vital to protecting Granite Staters, particularly young people, from lethal drugs.”   

“The longer-term funding and the scope of this Turn the Tide Act will allow us to do just that,” said Daisy Pierce, Executive Director of Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region. “This bill will grant service providers the ability to comprehensively address the needs of their communities, and recognizes that Substance Use Disorder affects every aspect of a person’s life. From adverse childhood experiences, to prevention, treatment, recovery, housing, and the workforce – this bill funds our best efforts to help people, and not just for opioids. We are so grateful to have Senator Shaheen advocate so powerfully on our behalf.”

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for New Hampshire recently announced that the total number of overdose drug deaths for 2018 was 470.

Here’s a brief summary of the Turn the Tide Act:

Delivers Flexible Funding:

  • Increases State Opioid Response (SOR) treatment grants from $1.5 billion per year to $5.5 billion per year over the next five years ($27.5 billion total) and provides needed flexibility so that providers can treat patients who have non-opioid related substance use disorders, such as methamphetamine or other substances. 
  • Provides $27.5 billion over the next ten years for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, a program that provides states with flexible dollars that can be used to treat or prevent a broad range of substance use disorders, including opioid, methamphetamine and cocaine misuse.

Prioritizes Prevention:

  • Boosts funding for youth-oriented prevention programs that are proven to work in New Hampshire.
  • Requires Medicare to setup a separate payment rate for non-opioid pain killers in order to incentivize delivering the appropriate treatment option to patients.

Addresses Workforce Challenges:

  • This bill provides $50 million a year to help the treatment workforce pay for student loans, including $25 million that is reserved for medical professionals practicing in hard-hit states like New Hampshire.
  • Increases Medicaid payment rates for medical professionals who are treating patients with substance use disorders. New Hampshire has one of the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the country which contributes to a shortage of mental and behavioral health providers.

Other Key Provisions:

  • Requires that private insurers and Medicare Part D plans provide coverage for at least one brand or generic version of Naloxone without any co-pay or deductible requirements.
  • Prohibits insurers from setting up administrative barriers, like prior authorization, that delay start of medication-assisted treatment.
  • Provides $10 million to provide law enforcement access to mental health and wellness services to respond to the high rates of burnout in police departments responding to the substance use disorder epidemic.
  • This legislation fully funds all the programs that were established and reauthorized in the bipartisan SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.

A more detailed summary of the legislation is available here.

The introduction of this bill follows Senate passage of legislation Senator Shaheen co-sponsored to prevent fentanyl trafficking into the United States. The Fentanyl Sanctions Act passed the Senate as part of the annual defense authorization bill.

Senator Shaheen helped negotiate the bipartisan agreement in 2018 that outlined the two years of opioid response spending – totaling $6 billion to respond to the opioid crisis. This included the set-aside funding for states with the highest mortality rates, like New Hampshire. This critical additional funding, which Shaheen helped broker, has been included by Congress over the last two fiscal years. As a result of the Delegation’s efforts, New Hampshire received a more than 1000% increase in opioid treatment funding through the SOR Grant program. 

The Turn the Tide Act can be read here.