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Shaheen, Hassan Introduce Bill to Establish Permanent Funding to Expand Access to Substance Misuse Treatment

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a group of 9 senators to re-introduce the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act (LifeBOAT Act), which would establish a permanent funding stream to provide and expand access to substance misuse treatment. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren, (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are also original co-sponsors of the legislation.

‎"The nationwide opioid epidemic has devastated communities and families in New Hampshire and throughout our country,” said Senator Shaheen. “Twice last year, Congress passed large pieces of legislation aimed at curbing the heroin and opioid crisis, and we must continue this momentum by keeping the promise to bolster resources for law enforcement officials, providers, community leaders and others on the frontlines who are working tirelessly to confront this epidemic. This bill is a step in the right direction for Congress to tackle this crisis head on by providing a funding source for key programs. Congress must actually invest in treatment, rehabilitation and recovery so we can get help to those who seek it sooner, not later.”

“Ensuring that everyone who is ready to seek substance use disorder treatment has access to life-saving services is critical to our efforts to stem – and ultimately reverse – the tide of this deadly opioid epidemic,” Senator Hassan said. “By providing additional funding to support those on the front lines of combating the heroin, fentanyl and opioid crisis, the LifeBOAT Act will help ensure that those on the road to recovery are not turned away due to a lack of resources. I will continue working across the aisle to pass this bill as part of a comprehensive approach to strengthening law enforcement, prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.”

The LifeBOAT Act would establish a 1 cent stewardship fee on each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription pain pill to fund efforts to provide and expand access to substance misuse treatment. The bill also includes a rebate program for cancer-related pain and hospice care, and exempts drugs used exclusively for the treatment of opioid misuse. The stewardship fee would not be paid by patients, but by drug manufacturers and collected funds could be used for:

·         Establishing new addiction treatment facilities, residential and outpatient.

·         Recruiting and increasing reimbursement for certified mental health providers providing substance abuse treatment.

·         Expanding access to long-term, residential treatment programs for addicts.

·         Establishing and/or operating support programs that offer employment services, housing, and other support services to help a recovering addict transition back into society.

·         Establishing and/or operating facilities to provide care for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

·         Establishing and/or operating substance abuse treatment programs in conjunction with Adult and Family Treatment Drug Courts.

 To read a fact sheet on why this bill is necessary, click here.