From: The Honorable Katherine M. Clark
Sent By:

Bill: H.R. 5956
Date: 11/30/2016

Improve Access to Treatment Options for Adolescents and Young Adults Suffering from 
the Opioid Crisis:

Cosponsor the YOUTH Act

Supporting Organizations: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and the
Addiction Policy Forum

Dear Colleague,

Please join us in cosponsoring H.R. 5956, the Youth Opioid Use Treatment Help (YOUTH) Act of 2016.  This bipartisan bill is an important step toward expanding access
to effective treatment options for opioid dependence in adolescents and young adults.

Between 1999 and 2011-2012, youth drug overdose deaths more than tripled in twelve states, and more than quadrupled in five states.  The increases
have been tied to the opioid crisis that has been ravaging the United States. 

A range of medications has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid dependence.  According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse,
decades of scientific research suggest that medications are often an important part of treatment for substance use disorders, particularly when combined with behavioral therapies.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) allows people suffering from opioid use disorders to regain a clear state of mind and break free of the rollercoaster of drug-induced highs
and lows.  It can reduce the effects of withdrawal and cravings, allowing patients to focus on behavioral therapy and the other steps to recovery.   

The availability of medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence is especially important for adolescents and young adults.  When substance use disorders
begin in adolescence, they can have serious, harmful effects on the brain’s development and other important processes.  It is critical that every effective treatment for this terrible disease is accessible to our most vulnerable groups. 

The YOUTH Act would help expand access to MAT for adolescents and young adults suffering from opioid dependence by:

  1. Reauthorizing and broadening eligibility for substance use treatment services for children, adolescents, and young adults under the Public Health Service Act;
  2. Authorizing the creation of demonstration programs to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for adolescents and young adults with opioid use disorders, and appropriations
    of $5 million to fund those programs;
  3. Directing the GAO to conduct a study on the existing federal programs addressing substance use among adolescents and young adults and any gaps in the available research on
    those subjects; and
  4. Directing the Department of Health and Human Services to report to Congress on the effectiveness of the demonstration programs, as well as any unintended consequences of
    those programs, such as abuse or diversion. 

Please help us give our young people struggling with substance use disorders every chance to win that fight.  

Join us in cosponsoring the YOUTH Act, and help to ensure that access to effective medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence in adolescents and young adults is expanded. 

If you have any questions or would like to cosponsor the YOUTH Act, please contact Diana Rudd (5-2836) in Rep. Clark’s office at or
Jeff Lucas (5-4636) in Rep. Bucshon’s office at



Katherine Clark                                               Larry Bucshon, M.D.

Member of Congress                                       Member of Congress