June 17, 2018

Bill would map opioid treatment facilities | Martinsburg Journal

Sen. Manchin co-authors legislation aimed at funding

MARTINSBURG — Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. wants to create a special U.S. map to show where opioid addiction treatment facilities are — and where they are not — around the country.

Manchin and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, recently introduced the “Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act” to commission the Government Accountability Office to identify and map out opioid treatment centers state by state. The study would identify facilities by geographic region and demographic group, such as pregnant women and adolescents.

The GAO map would highlight black holes in state opioid treatment facilities, Manchin said.

“We’re in rural part of America that has an opioid addiction,” Manchin said. “Until we can show them the sparsely treated sections of our rural areas, we are going to have a hard time getting the necessary money.”

Manchin said the map would highlight states where there is the greatest addiction treatment need.

“Rural America, and the states with the greatest addiction, are not getting the proper resources that are distributed through the CARE Bill and some of the bills that have been out there,”Manchin said. “Listen, the care should be where the greatest drug afflictions are.

Currently, federal money for substance rehabilitation is distributed based on population, Manchin said.

“It should be based on where the greatest state afflictions are, not by population,” Manchin said. “We’re (West Virginia) is not going to get enough money to fight the fight.”

If passed, the bill gives GAO two years to produce a map.

Manchin said a state-by-state treatment facility map would be an invaluable when making a case for federal funding.

“We don’t have the proper treatment centers we need in the most affected opioid drug addiction areas in the country, which is our state (West Virginia),” Manchin said. “So, when there’s money being distributed, I can show where the money needs to get to the front line.”

Manchin said that between 2009-2013, nearly 22 percent of Americans were suffering from opioid addiction with limited facilities available to seek treatment. Limited treatment options still persist today, Manchin said.

“In West Virginia, we’ve got people from all over the state who cannot get in for treatment and cannot afford to get in to treatment facilities that are private,” Manchin said.

Sullivan said residents of the 49th state face the same problem locating opioid recovery facilities.

“The rapidly growing opioid epidemic has only compounded the issues we face with under staffing, bed shortages and growing wait times,” Sullivan said. The legislation highlights an often overlooked issue in the fight against heroin and prescription painkiller addiction – the lack of quality addiction treatment facilities, which has been raised by advocates and medical health professionals in communities across my state.”

In other news, Manchin said he contacted the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Community Corrections Division, about using West Virginia’s Day Report Centers as a possible national model.

Manchin said FBP officials last year visited the Jefferson County Day Report Center in Ranson.

DRCs serve as an alternative approach to the handling of non-violent drug offenders instead of prison. Instead of serving jail time, DRC participants go through an intensive out-patient detox and rehab program.

“The FBP talked about the relationship of certain day report centers, typically in rural areas, to get individuals back in the community,” Manchin said. “They know Ranson DRC, and the quality of care that Ranson can do.”

DRC can also serve as transitional drug rehabilitation housing in areas that do not have full-fledged recovery facilities, Manchin said.

“DRCs will help re-integrate individuals back into their community, but it will also reduce the cost too,” Manchin said.

By:  Jim McConville