Opioid Assistance Package Signed by President
The monumental opioid bill, H.R. 6: Support for Patients and Communities Act was signed by President Donald Trump on October 24th, 2018. The legislation was a package deal of 120 opioid crisis related bills. First, the package successfully sailed through the House of Representatives untroubled. Next, it passed through the Senate without any conflict, and made its way to the president’s desk. President Trump cited the bill as “the single largest bill to combat the drug crisis in the history of our country.” Many have applauded both sides of the isle for working together to pass such meaningful legislation. One representative stated, “People are getting what they need and deserve.”
The large variety of opioid related bills cover the full continuum of care. From prevention to treatment and recovery, there is a bill to address the issue. While some contest more could be done, it is gratifying to see some progress is being made compared to none. To summarize the 120 opioid bills, they can be classified into three categories; improvements, expansions, and grants.
- Enlarging the ability for emergency workers to be able to implement SBIRT techniques. Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment are the first steps to admitting someone to treatment.
- Bolstering regulations on corporate kickbacks for patient referrals.
- Bettering the protocols to provide the best practices utilized in recovery housing communities.
- Renewing educational materials used by clinicians when making decisions with patients, including expectant mothers. In addition, sending yearly notices to clinicians reminding them of their rights to inform families in crises.
- Growing first responder programs to incorporate the most up to date and accurate training regarding opioid emergency instances. Additionally, equipping pharmacies with proper resources and literature to identify deceitful prescription attempts.
- Standardizing opioid prescription packs to not extend past 3-7 days. When prescribed opioids, patients have opioid disposal kits for unused medication. Destroying unused medications is common practice for hospice workers. HR6 establishes the practice as a standard.
- The United States Secretary of Health will be responsible for meeting with opioid crisis stakeholders. In these meetings, a model is to be drafted to assist healthcare workers in inmate transitions.
- The Drug Free Communities Program will be revitalized and mobilized. Stakeholders will enter their communities with new methods to defer substance abuse in youth.
- Law enforcement will strengthen current practices in intercepting illegal substances transported through the mail.
- Increasing medical education and training presented to providers to improve healthcare integration and confront pain holistically.
- Medicaid will expand to cover addiction treatment in facilities with more than 16 beds. Medicaid will also cover infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome and pregnant or post-partum women in recovery under the new bill.
- The number of clinicians approved to prescribe medication-assisted treatment will expand greatly. More people being able to provide means greater access for those in need.
- Further research will be conducted to analyze the effectiveness of alternative pain medicine. Expanding the availability and capabilities of telemedicine will be investigated as well.
- Student loan repayment will be offered to those entering the healthcare field. This incentive will draw more people to the healthcare field. A large supply of doctors are needed to meet the demand for treatment.
- The START program will further assist families in partnering them with the social services they need. Families affected by the opioid crisis will be united with social workers and other families to provide peer support. A recovery coach program will be implemented for patients with children in the foster care system.
- States wanting to develop family focused treatment programs will be awarded grants. The grants will increase the availability of family focused addiction treatment facilities.
- In states where there is a healthcare workforce deficit, grants will be available to hire necessary professionals.
- Grants are available for institutions interested in exploring data and analysis of those affected by neonatal abstinence syndrome.
- Funds will be accessible to states looking to expand prescription disposal options.
Funding state health programs should give states the incentive to make addiction treatment a precedence. The opioid crisis has remained in the forefront of national media since its announcement as a public health emergency in October 2017. With so many people performing amazing work each day to stunt the opioid crisis, it is hard not to be optimistic about the future.
Recovery is very possible. Seabrook has been working passionately to do its part in tackling the opioid crisis With an extensive detox program, exceptional in-patient treatment model, long term care, and out-patient services, Seabrook is well equipped to assist anyone suffering from opioid addiction. Seabrook is thrilled to see the government is taking the issue as serious as we do. Seeing the ramifications of addiction each day, we know just how much the approved grants and services are necessary. Thousands of families’ lives will be changed.
If someone you love is in need of addiction treatment, do not hesitate to reach out for help. For more than 44 years, we have been working with families to find the courage to recover from substance abuse, including opioid detox, chemical dependency and prescription medication abuse. Call today so we can work together to help you or someone you love: 800-761-7575.