Legislation includes Markey provision to expand access to medication-assisted therapies
Washington (July 13, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement after final Senate passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The legislation include a provision that mirrors a proposal in The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment (TREAT) Act (S.1455), legislation originally introduced in Senator Markey and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). For the first time, trained nurse practitioners and physicians assistants will be able to provide life-saving medication-assisted therapies such as buprenorphine (also called Suboxone).
“I am proud that this opioid legislation contains provisions of the TREAT Act, the bill I introduced with Senator Rand Paul. I thank Senators Murray and Alexander for their support, and Senator Hatch, Representatives Pallone and Upton, and all the CARA conferees who worked to get the TREAT Act provisions included in this final package.
“But when Congress had the opportunity to make investments in the programs that are helping to save lives from addiction, Republicans in this chamber blocked all efforts to provide the real funding that cities and states need to fight the opioid epidemic. We will not save lives and stop this scourge of addiction with just words and promises. We will not save lives with legislation that pays only lip service to providing treatment.
“This bill is a good step, but we have to go much farther. If we are to stanch the flow of suffering and death in our cities, we desperately need funding to implement all the programs in this legislation. A decade from now, people will ask what we did to help end the opioid epidemic. That’s why I will continue to stand up and fight for the resources and other investments we need to stem the tide of heroin and prescription drug addiction.”
“I’d like to thank Senator Markey for his leadership and commitment to expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, including effective treatments like buprenorphine,” said Senator Patty Murray, ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee. “In our current system, finding quality, specialized treatment is often a serious obstacle for patients and their families. These efforts will make a significant difference for medical professionals working to improve access to care for opioid addiction and other substance use disorders across our country.”
Senator Markey has been a Congressional leader in combatting the opioid epidemic. He has introduced numerous pieces of legislation to fund and expand opioid addiction prevention and treatment programs, as well as legislation mandating education on safe prescribing for any prescriber of opioid medication. He succeeded in getting the Food and Drug Administration to agree to his request to reassess the way it considers the risks of addiction and misuse when it evaluates the safety of new opioids.