Markey Statement on Federal, Congressional Efforts to Combat Opioid Crisis

Senator’s TREAT Act legislation with Sen. Rand Paul would greatly expand access to medication assisted treatment
Washington (July 6, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement today after the Obama administration announced new efforts to help curb the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. The announcement comes on the same day as the first conference committee meeting for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery (CARA) Act legislation being negotiated in Congress.
“The Administration’s announcement today is an important step that moves our country closer to curbing the epidemic of prescription opioid and heroin abuse. I have long called for the administration to address our outdated policies to allow for greater access to medication assisted treatment. I also applaud the administration for answering my call to ensure that federal prescribers, such as those in the Indian Health Services, regularly check Prescription Drug Monitoring Databases to more appropriately care for those who need pain management and to better identify those suffering with an opioid use disorder.
“I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that the opioid legislation Congress is currently negotiating includes policies from The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act that will bring treatment to those who need it most. This includes ensuring the bill has the funding needed to help communities across Massachusetts and the country that are battling opioid overdoses and deaths on an hourly basis. Without robust funding, any effort is a mere Band-Aid when we need a tourniquet. We are hemorrhaging lives by the day, and communities need this funding to stanch the flow of suffering and death. I call on Republicans to join this effort to respond to this unprecedented public health crisis.”
In April 2016, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee advanced S.1455, The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment (TREAT Act), which was introduced by Senators Markey and Paul and negotiated with HELP leadership prior to its passage. In addition to raising the maximum cap for physicians from 100 to 500 patients, the TREAT Act also authorizes nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to provide medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorders in accordance with state law.