Sending Office: Honorable Paul Tonko
Sent By:
Jeff.Morgan@mail.house.gov

Co-leads: Tonko, Luján, Delgado, Budd, Stefanik, Turner

Organizational Support: National Council for Behavioral Health, American College of Emergency Physicians, Shatterproof, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health America, Drug Policy Alliance, Harm Reduction
Coalition, American Academy of PAs, Society for Hospital Medicine, Housing Works, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

CosponsorsBarragán, Blunt Rochester, Brindisi, Brown,
Clarke, Collins (NY), Cummings, DeLauro, Dingell, Doggett, Doyle, Engel,
Fitzpatrick, Gabbard, Garamendi, Heck, Higgins (NY), Hill (CA),
Hill (AR), Hollingsworth, Huffman, Jackson Lee, Jayapal, Kennedy, Khanna, Kim, Kuster, Lee (CA), S. Maloney, Matsui,
Meadows, Meeks, Newhouse,  Norton, Pappas, Porter, Raskin, Rose, Rouda, Ruppersberger, Scanlon, Schrader, Serrano, Sherrill, Sires,
Taylor, Thompson (MS),Van Drew, Velazquez, Watkins,
Westerman, Welch, Wild, Young

Dear Colleague,

The United States continues to be in the midst of a devastating overdose epidemic. 2017 was the deadliest year yet, with more than 70,237 dying from drug overdoses according to the Centers for Disease Control. Despite the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction
and Recovery Act and the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, there are still significant gaps in substance use treatment capacity. Only 20 percent of patients who need treatment for opioid use disorder are currently receive it, and even when providers
are present in a community, patients often face waiting lists for care.

Unfortunately, outdated federal rules make it harder for medical professionals to prescribe substance use treatment medications than it is to prescribe the powerful opioids that got us into this crisis, by requiring that practitioners obtain a separate waiver
through the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of substance use disorder. Notably, practitioners without a special waiver are able to prescribe buprenorphine to their patients for the treatment or pain, but not for the treatment of opioid use
disorder.

The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act would address this issue by eliminating the redundant and outdated requirement that practitioners apply for a separate waiver through the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of substance
use disorder
. By removing this outdated barrier, treatment access will be exponentially expanded, and medical professionals will be able to more easily integrate the treatment of substance use disorder into primary care settings similar to how
other chronic diseases are managed.  After France took similar action to make buprenorphine available without a specialized waiver, opioid overdose deaths declined by 79 percent over a four-year period.

These commonsense steps will vastly expand access to addiction treatment and help save lives today. For more information or to cosponsor, please contact Jeff Morgan in my office at
jeff.morgan@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

 

Paul D. Tonko

Member of Congress

 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: HealthCare, Judiciary

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