Two Bills Championed by Congressman Ted Deutch Included in Opioids Legislation
This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed comprehensive and bipartisan legislation to address the devastating opioid health crisis affecting Americans across the country and causing 15 overdose deaths every day in Florida.
Included in the comprehensive legislation passed today are two initiatives championed by Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) in the House: The Substance Abuse Prevention Act and the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act.
On May 23, 2018, Congressman Deutch and Congressman Doug Collins (GA-09) introduced the Substance Abuse Prevention Act (H.R. 5933), which would help our national response to the opioid crisis, including supporting local communities by reauthorizing drug courts and the Drug-Free Communities Program. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Senate companion, and a one pager can be accessed here.
"I’m thankful for the leadership of Congressman Collins and Senators Cornyn and Feinstein in the effort to reauthorize important initiatives across the federal government—including drug court program—that not only help people address their mental health and addiction needs, but also work to prevent substance abuse before it starts," Congressman Deutch said. "Our community should be proud of Broward County’s drug courts, which are the third-oldest in the nation and have served as an example to other communities of how the justice system can focus on recovery from addiction and saving lives, rather than just locking people up. I’m pleased that the Substance Abuse Prevention Act was included in the final comprehensive opioid legislation and I am committed to continuing to fight for everyone struggling with addiction to get the help they need."
“Drug courts have long recognized that addiction is a disease and disease can’t be cured by the criminal justice system. If we continue to address opioid addiction as a crime, we will continue to see people die,” said Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein. “I commend Ted Deutch and Doug Collins for their efforts to end our failed War on Drugs and for recognizing that treatment and compassion is the way to save lives.”
The Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act was introduced by Congressman Deutch in the House (H.R. 6878) and by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the Senate (S. 3254). This important bipartisan legislation will crack down on those who take advantage of people struggling with addiction. The bill will make it illegal to pay or receive kickbacks for patient referrals to sober homes, treatment programs, and testing laboratories. These schemes are already illegal in Medicare and Medicaid, and this bill expands kickback prohibitions to private insurance plans.
“This legislation represents a major achievement in the fight against the opioid crisis and, in particular, fraud and abuse in the drug treatment and sober home industries,” said Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg. “We appreciate the leadership from Congressman Deutch and the support from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to save lives from this unprecedented epidemic.”
Office of National Drug Control Policy—Reauthorizes the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) at the White House, which oversees all Executive Branch efforts on narcotics control, including the development of a national drug control strategy, while ensuring that these efforts strengthen and complement state and local anti-drug activities.
Drug-Free Communities Program—Reauthorizes the Drug-Free Communities Program, one of our nation’s most important programs for preventing youth substance abuse and reducing demand for illicit narcotics at the community level.
Drug Courts—Reauthorizes Department of Justice funding for drug courts, which are on the front lines of preventing drug addiction through targeted interventions for individuals with drug addiction and substance abuse disorders. This legislation would also allow non-profit organizations to provide important training and technical assistance to drug courts.
High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Forces—Reauthorizes the ONDCP High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program, which provides funding for federal, state and local law enforcement task forces operating in our nation’s most critical drug trafficking regions. This legislation would also improve the program by targeting funds for implementation of a coordinated drug overdose response strategy, including coordination with public health officials and other multi-disciplinary efforts to reduce demand for narcotics and prevent drug abuse. It also provides supplemental grants to law enforcement agencies to protect law enforcement from accidental exposure to dangerous narcotics.
Public Awareness—Allows the ONDCP Director to participate in and expand opioid and heroin awareness campaigns authorized under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
Protecting Families with Substance Abuse Challenges—Improves collaboration and provides resources to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help families stay together while battling substance abuse—including through screening, treatment, supportive housing and other interventions.
Better Substance Abuse Treatment—Directs the Government Accountability Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to report on improving substance abuse disorder treatment reimbursement to attract a more talented workforce. The bill also encourages better Medicaid substance abuse disorder reimbursement.
Educating Prescribers—Requires Attorney General and HHS Secretary to complete a plan for educating and training medical practitioners in best practices for prescribing controlled substances.
Overview of the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act: