We live in a time where gun deaths and car crash fatalities have paled in comparison to the mortality rate that opioid addiction has inflicted. In 2017 alone, over 70,000 Americans died as a result of a drug overdose, and the numbers continue to rise.1
Due to the prescription opioid epidemic, politicians from both sides of the aisle recently came together in historic fashion to pass reform legislation aimed at aggressively addressing the issue through increased border control, improved medical interventions and collaborative efforts from both the private and public sector.
Understanding the breadth and scope of the opioid epidemic bill can be difficult to navigate, this article breaks down the most significant elements of the legislation in order to facilitate a deeper grasp of its potential social impact.
Recap of the Opioid Epidemic Bill
Titled the Support for Patients and Communities Act, the opioid epidemic legislation addresses an outdated rule that prohibited Medicaid from providing reimbursement for patients being treated for substance use disorders in facilities with more than sixteen beds.
It also established the eligibility for patients to receive 30 days of treatment within residential facilities when clinically appropriate. Additionally, the bill addresses a number of other factors
impacting the spread of opioid addiction, bringing to light various social shortcomings currently in place, such as:
- Lifting the restrictions on qualified and licensed medical personnel, enabling more clinicians to prescribe medications to treat opioid addiction.
- Providing states increased flexibility to use existing funding sources to address the opioid epidemic how they see fit within their own regions.
- Creating a grant program to fund opioid recovery centers that enable communities around the country to better serve and treat the recovery needs of their neighborhoods.
- Expanding the existing programs that equip first responders with naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses.
- Increasing penalties for drug manufacturers and distributors in relation to the overprescribing of opioids.
- Facilitating collaborative efforts between federal agencies to stop drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through the US Postal Service. It also will provide federal agencies improved detection and testing methods to stop these synthetic opioids from crossing into the country at our borders.
How the Opioid Epidemic Legislation Impacts Communities Around the Country
While this bill is not perfect, it identifies the need for immediate action regarding the opioid epidemic and facilitates treatment within both the private and public sectors.
By vocalizing the importance of 30 day stays within residential treatment and ensuring Medicaid reimbursement for patients seeking treatment within clinically qualified facilities, the bill attempts to reinforce the importance of treatment standards in relation to addiction therapy.
At Covenant Hills, this comprehensive clinical approach has been the standard since inception. Working to provide quality clinical services to all clientele has enabled us to lead the charge throughout this opioid crisis and provide a therapeutic safe haven to those searching for hope in their struggle against addiction.
While this bill works to increase the available treatment opportunities for those struggling with opioid addiction, Covenant Hills has long been at the forefront of providing a cohesive clinical approach throughout the recovery journey and will continue to do so for every person that initiates treatment with our recovery staff.
Ways in Which the Opioid Epidemic Bill Can Continue to Improve
The fact that both democrats and republicans alike came together to enact legislation addressing the opioid epidemic was historical. However, it is a widely held belief that, while the foundation of the Support for Patient and Communities Act is solid, the legislation on its own is not enough to stop the epidemic.
While these initial steps are in a positive direction, it is imperative to continue this journey of improved social support for the opioid epidemic by not only encouraging improved collaboration, but to also fund the facilities and clinicians attempting to treat those struggling with the disease.
Long-term success will require significantly expanded funding throughout the country in order to increase the availability of qualified clinical facilities and the obtainability of treatment to those seeking therapeutic assistance to address their addiction.
Transformative, Christian-Based Addiction Treatment at Covenant Hills
For any addict who wants to regain control over their entire life, you must believe that your life can begin again. It is our firm belief at Covenant Hills that addicts can recover from their disease and rebuild abstinent, productive lives.
Our Christian-based treatment program focuses on your Whole Person Health, helping you restore your mind, body and spirit.
1The Washington Post. Senate easily passes sweeping opioids legislation, sending to President Trump. Accessed November 4, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/10/03/senate-is-poised-send-sweeping-opioids-legislation-president-trump/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b8a32fa1a100