NC Attorney General Urges Congress to Pass Bill Making Addiction Treatment More Available

Almost four North Carolinians die each day due to a drug overdose

NC Attorney General Urges Congress to Pass Bill Making Addiction Treatment More Available
Image: Pexels
October 4, 2017

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is calling Congress to pass legislation that would make treatment for drug addiction more affordable and accessible for Americans who need it most.

"Almost four North Carolinians die each day due to overdose," said Attorney General Stein. "These deaths are preventable. We know there are more people living in recovery today than there are in active addiction – treatment works. To truly confront the opioid crisis, we must prioritize treatment and recovery at the federal, state and local levels."

The Road to Recovery Act

The Bill, HR 2938, is also known as the Road to Recovery Act.

Attorney General Stein, along with a bipartisan group of 38 state Attorneys General, wrote the U.S. House of Representatives describing the national epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse and overdose deaths. In the letter, the Attorneys General stated that "… [W]e cannot arrest our way out of this problem, because it is not just a public safety challenge – it is a public health challenge as well."

Attorney General Stein says that the Road to Recovery Act will help increase access to treatment for opioid addiction by removing a more than 50-year-old provision in the Medicaid program that currently acts as a barrier to residential addiction treatment.

Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion

The Bill addresses the "Institutions for Mental Diseases" (IMD) exclusion, which was created in the original 1965 Medicaid legislation to prevent the funding of large, residential mental health facilities.

While the exclusion led to the closure of what were, in many cases, inhumane institutions, it now has the unintended effect of limiting Medicaid funding for residential treatment facilities, which can be one of the most effective ways to treat drug addiction.

Widespread Support

Those supporting this change in law include health care providers, insurers, treatment centers, governors from both political parties, and the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

View a copy of the letter sent to Congress here.