Lawmaker has introduced legislation that would expand access to life-saving medication assisted therapies included in today’s budget announcement
Washington (February 2, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement after the White House today announced $1.1 billion in new funding in the President’s FY 2017 budget proposal to address the prescription drug and heroin crisis. The President’s budget proposal will include increases in funding to states to expand access to medication-assisted therapies like buprenorphine and increase availability of opioid overdose prevention treatment like naloxone. It also sets up a pilot program in the Department of Health and Human Services for nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment, where allowed by state law.
“With the opioid epidemic reaching epic proportions, our federal budget should reflect the magnitude and importance of investing in treatment and recovery services,” said Senator Markey. “This funding will help increase the availability of life-saving treatments like medication assisted therapies and remove roadblocks to getting people the treatment they need and on a path to recovery. We need to eliminate the outdated laws that limit a physician’s ability to treat opioid dependent patients with medication assisted therapies, and I thank President Obama for making this commitment to funding and action.”
In May, Senators Markey and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act (TREAT Act) (S.1455), legislation that would expand the ability of addiction medical specialists and other trained medical professionals to provide life-saving medication-assisted therapies like bupernorphine. While emphasizing addiction medicine expertise and quality, the legislation lifts existing and arbitrary federal restrictions that are non-existent for any other disease and limit access to life saving therapies.