May 24, 2016

Manchin, Klobuchar, Shaheen, King, Heitkamp, Baldwin Introduce Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act

The LifeBOAT Act would establish reliable funding to expand access to substance abuse treatment

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Angus King (I-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today introduced the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act (LifeBOAT), which would establish a permanent funding stream to provide and expand access to substance abuse treatment.

“A major barrier that those suffering from opioid addiction face is insufficient access to substance abuse treatment,” Senator Manchin said. “These are people who have recognized that they need help, but have been turned away because there simply weren’t enough facilities, beds, or mental health providers in their community. This legislation will bridge that gap and make sure that we can provide treatment to everyone who makes the decision to get help. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this bill passed so we can take another step forward in the fight against opioid abuse.”

“A mother who lost her daughter to opioid overdose recently told me, ‘This epidemic is man-made. We need to own it. And we need to fix it.’ Indeed, we need to do everything we can to fix it. That’s why I am proud to support this bill,” said Senator Klobuchar. “No person should be turned away when they are seeking treatment. No family should hope for an arrest so their loved one can get the support they need to tackle their addiction. This bill will build on bipartisan legislation that passed the Senate in March and ensure investment in life-saving treatment.”

"The nationwide opioid addiction epidemic has ravaged communities and families throughout our country and throughout New Hampshire,” said Senator Shaheen. “Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation aimed at curbing the heroin and opioid crisis, but it offered no real resources for the law enforcement officials, community leaders and others on the frontlines who are working tirelessly to confront this epidemic. This bill a step in the right direction for Congress to tackle this crisis head on. Congress needs to act now and invest in treatment, rehabilitation and recovery so we can get help to those who seek it sooner, not later.”

“I’ve heard it time and time again from people waging the battle against addiction: we need more treatment options. But today, those options are only dwindling in the face of ever-shrinking budgets, and the sad result is that those who need the help the most simply aren’t getting it,” Senator King said. “It’s my hope that this common-sense legislation can help put a stop to that. By establishing a reliable stream of funding, this bill will bolster treatment facilities across the country, increase the amount of services available, and support people as they fight back against addiction – all while doing so in a cost-effective way. We must step up to lend a hand to those who need our help, and this bill does that.”

“We need to take strong steps to address the heartbreaking problem of opioid abuse that doesn’t just hurt individuals, but also tears apart families and communities across the country, including throughout North Dakota,” said Senator Heitkamp. “Earlier this year, Congress passed strong legislation to tackle heroin and opioid abuse. That bill was an important step. But we still need to put more resources toward this epidemic and that’s where today’s new bill comes in which would help more Americans get the treatment they need to overcome addiction.”

“Fighting this nationwide epidemic is a shared responsibility; everyone has a role to play in addressing this crisis. The drug companies that have profited from selling large quantities of opioids over the years are no exception,” said Senator Baldwin. “As communities continue to struggle with this epidemic on a daily basis, Washington needs to act by actually making investments for prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. I am proud to support this bill because it is bold solution that will help us address a big problem.”

The LifeBOAT Act would establish a 1 cent fee on each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription pain pill to fund efforts to provide and expand access to substance abuse treatment. The bill also includes a rebate program for cancer-related pain and hospice care, and exempts drugs used exclusively for the treatment of opioid addiction. That funding would go towards:

  • Establishing new addiction treatment facilities, residential and outpatient.
  • Recruiting and increasing reimbursement for certified mental health providers providing substance abuse treatment.
  • Expanding access to long-term, residential treatment programs for addicts.
  • Establishing and/or operating support programs that offer employment services, housing, and other support services to help a recovering addict transition back into society.
  • Establishing and/or operating facilities to provide care for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
  • Establishing and/or operating substance abuse treatment programs in conjunction with Adult and Family Treatment Drug Courts.

To read the text of the bill, click here.

To read a fact sheet on why this bill is necessary, click here.

Earlier today Senators Manchin, Klobuchar, Shaheen, King, Heitkamp and Baldwin held a press conference on the introduction of this legislation. To watch a video of the press conference, click here.