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Foster, Maloney Introduce Legislation To Combat Heroin Abuse, Increase Resources For Treatment

Jul 31, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Bill Foster (IL-11) and Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) introduced the Expanding Opportunities for Recovery Act.  The legislation would create a grant program to increase access to in-patient rehabilitation services for heroin and other opioid abuse.

Text of the bill is available here.

“Heroin addiction is devastating our communities. I have heard from too many Illinois families that have been impacted by the consequences of heroin addiction. We must take action to reverse this growing epidemic,” said Foster. “Countless community groups, municipalities and law enforcement officials are working to combat heroin abuse at the local level, but we must do more to support them at the federal level. That’s why I’m introducing this legislation to increase access to rehabilitation services so we can set people on the road to recovery.”

“The heroin and prescription drug epidemic is ripping apart families and our communities, but tragically, many folks face too many hurdles to access treatment.  The Expanding Opportunities for Recovery Act will help turn the tide on the epidemic by expanding treatment options for our neighbors,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “In addition to giving our law enforcement officials the resources they need, I’ll continue working to support our community organizations focused on prevention and treatment.”

Opioid addiction is a growing public health crisis that affects people of every race, income, and educational level. In 2010 alone, opioids contributed to over 16,000 deaths. Moreover, each year drug abuse and addiction costs over $534 billion, but the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that we could save $4-$7 in criminal justice costs for every dollar invested in treatment and prevention.

While in-patient rehabilitation is a proven effective treatment for opioid abuse, many people lack health insurance and are unable to afford such treatment. In addition, many insurance providers require patients to exhaust other options, like out-patient treatment and counseling, before they will cover in-patient rehabilitation. These obstacles prevent opioid abusers from receiving the treatment they need to enter recovery.

This legislation removes barriers to addiction treatment by providing grants for residential/in-patient opioid addiction treatment for qualified individuals. For an individual to qualify, they must either lack health insurance or have health insurance that places a barrier to in-patient treatment, such as a requirement that cheaper but perhaps less effective treatments be exhausted first. Qualified individuals would be able to receive up to 60 consecutive days of treatment under this grant program.