April 27, 2018

Feinstein, Cornyn Fight Drug Addiction with the Substance Abuse Prevention Act

Washington - Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Substance Abuse Prevent Act to fight drug addiction, including opioids. 

“We are in the midst of the deadliest drug epidemic in our history,” Sen. Feinstein said. “With more than 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, we must do all we can to ensure we have a strong substance abuse prevention infrastructure in place to address not only opioids, but also meth and cocaine, which have contributed to tens of thousands of deaths nationwide. The Substance Abuse Prevention Act extends important drug prevention programs, like the Drug Free Communities and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas programs, as well as the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which is responsible for guiding our nation’s drug prevention efforts. This legislation will also ensure that law enforcement and first responders have the equipment needed to prevent accidental exposure to deadly drugs, like fentanyl, and that law enforcement has additional resources to investigate the illicit trafficking of meth.  I look forward to working with stakeholders and moving the bill through the Judiciary Committee.”

“This bill builds on existing prevention laws to ensure our states and communities have the resources they need to combat this epidemic,” Sen. Cornyn said. “By reauthorizing key programs like the Drug-Free Communities Program, educating providers on ways to best serve patients, and ensuring proper support programs are in place, the Substance Abuse Prevention Act will help to stem the tide of this terrible epidemic.”

Background:

The Substance Abuse Prevention Act reauthorizes drug abuse programs and provides assistance to various agencies to better combat opioid addiction and support those recovering from substance abuse.

  • Office of National Drug Control Policy: Reauthorizes the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) at the White House, which oversees Executive Branch efforts on narcotics control and ensures efforts complement and strengthen state and local anti-drug activates. 
  • Drug Abuse Prevention Programs: Reauthorizes several important programs under the ONDCP including the Drug-Free Communities Program and the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program and allows the ONDCP Director to participate in and expand opioid and heroin awareness campaigns which were authorized under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).
  • Drug CourtsReauthorizes Department of Justice funding for drug courts, which provide targeted interventions for individuals with drug addiction and substance abuse disorders and allows non-profit organizations to provide important training and technical assistance to drug courts.
  • DEA 360 Strategy: Authorizes the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to conduct a pilot program in partnership with healthcare and community organizations to raise awareness of substance abuse, strengthen community organizations that provide long-term substance abuse assistance, and target criminal organizations responsible for increasing the supply of illicit narcotics.
  • Supporting Families with Substance Abuse Challenges: Provides resources to the Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) for screening, treatment, supportive housing, and interventions in order to help support families as they battle substance abuse challenges.
  • Abuse-Deterrent OpioidsEliminates barriers that previously prevented members of group and individual health plans from accessing abuse-deterrent opioids and requires commercial and Medicare plans to educate practitioners on abuse prevention efforts, including the use of abuse-deterrent opioids.
  • Overdose Reversal: Requires hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid patients to provide overdose reversal medication and a referral to treatment options as part of the discharge protocol for overdose patients.
  • Better Substance Abuse TreatmentDirects the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct a study on reimbursements for substance use disorder services and make recommendations in order to bring parity to and improve reimbursements. 
  • Educating PrescribersRequires Attorney General and HHS Secretary to complete a plan for educating and training medical practitioners in best practices for prescribing controlled substances.

The following groups support the Substance Abuse Prevention Act: the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the Addiction Policy Forum, the National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA), the Moyer Foundation, and the National Council for Behavioral Health.

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