March 03, 2017

Manchin Re-Introduces LifeBOAT 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), Angus King (I-ME), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren, (D-MA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) re-introduced the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act (LifeBOAT Act), 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.”

“As a former prosecutor, I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact addiction has on families and communities. We’ve made progress in the fight against addiction by working together to pass landmark legislation I led with three other senators last year to bolster efforts to combat this epidemic and to make $1 billion in funding available,” said Klobuchar. “But when people continue to be turned away when they seek treatment for addiction, more must be done. Our commonsense legislation would help people across Minnesota and the country by establishing a permanent funding stream to expand access to life-saving treatment.”

“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.”

“Across our state, I’ve sat down with families, law enforcement, and those in recovery who have shared stories of the heartbreaking loss and painful cost of opioid addiction and abuse – and we need all hands on deck to prevent this suffering from growing. That’s what this bill is about,” said Heitkamp. “To make sure our towns remain strong and safe, I’m helping reintroduce legislation that would generate new financial resources for communities fighting this battle on the ground. Congress took important steps last year to identify opioid addiction and abuse as the nationwide epidemic that it is – this bill will build on that momentum by helping provide North Dakota communities on the front lines of this crisis funds to engage, intervene, and recover. Acknowledging this problem is important – but the work doesn’t end there. We need real solutions and resources to fight back.”

“I’ve held roundtables across Wisconsin and heard from local law enforcement, citizens, elected officials on both sides of the aisle, and people working on the front lines to combat the opioid abuse crisis. I have also heard the stories from families who have lost loved ones,” said Senator Baldwin. “Washington should do more to invest in local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. Until we do, our job is not done and local communities will be without the support they need to effectively fight this crisis.”

“I’ve met with individuals struggling with addiction and the doctors and law enforcement who care for them -- their message is clear: we can't beat this epidemic without more funding,” said Murphy. “The LifeBOAT Act is exactly the kind of innovative funding vehicle we need to expand recovery programs so that we can cut this epidemic off at the knees.”

‎"The nationwide opioid epidemic has devastated communities and families in New Hampshire and throughout our country,” said Senator Shaheen. “Late last year, Congress passed legislation aimed at curbing the heroin and opioid crisis, and we must continue this momentum by keeping the promise to bolster resources for the law enforcement officials, community leaders and others on the frontlines who are working tirelessly to confront this epidemic.  This bill is a step in the right direction for Congress to tackle this crisis head on by providing a funding source for key programs. Congress must actually invest in treatment, rehabilitation and recovery so we can get help to those who seek it sooner, not later.”

“Ensuring that everyone who is ready to seek substance use disorder treatment has access to life-saving services is critical to our efforts to stem – and ultimately reverse – the tide of this deadly opioid epidemic,” Senator Hassan said. “By providing additional funding to support those on the front lines of combating the heroin, fentanyl and opioid crisis, the LifeBOAT Act will help ensure that those on the road to recovery are not turned away due to a lack of resources. I will continue working across the aisle to pass this bill as part of a comprehensive approach to strengthening law enforcement, prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.”

"The opioid epidemic has caused seemingly endless pain and suffering in Connecticut and throughout the country. We must utilize every tool in our arsenal to fight back and provide communities, families, and individual patients with the resources they need to deliver and access life-saving prevention and treatment services. This bill will bolster our efforts to get patients the resources and results they so urgently need, and deserve," said Senator Blumenthal.

“Right now, only 10% of those with substance use disorder can actually access the specialty treatment they need. That is unacceptable, and we need smart ideas to address this treatment gap.  The LifeBOAT Act takes critical steps forward to tackle this public health crisis,” said Senator Warren.

The LifeBOAT Act would establish a 1 cent stewardship 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 could be used for:

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