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House Legislation Increases Awareness, Access to Opioid Addiction Treatments

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Jenni Muns

Policy Associate, National Council for Behavioral Health

House Legislation Increases Awareness, Access to Opioid Addiction Treatments

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A bill recently introduced in the House helps increase patient awareness and access to all treatment options for opioid addiction. The bill, the Opioid Addiction Treatment Modernization Act, was introduced by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and cosponsored by Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR).

The bill will:

  • Ensure that all physicians and licensed or certified practitioners employed in Office Based Opioid Treatment Programs (OBOTs) shall be trained on opioid detoxification; and use of all Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications for the treatment of opioid dependence and overdose.
  • All OBOT practices will obtain informed consent from their patients about the available treatment options, including their potential benefits and risks, consistent with the practice in OTPs (Opioid Treatment Programs).
  • All patients receiving treatment in an OBOT will receive initial and periodic assessments that take in to account their unique history and psychosocial characteristics, consistent with current practice in OTPs and current medical practice.
  • Physicians, and licensed or certified practitioners, treating patients in OBOTs will develop individualized treatment plans based upon the patient’s assessment that must include selected medication, a plan for preventing relapse and an overdose reversal plan.
  • OBOTs must be capable of providing directly, or by referral, all FDA-approved opioid addiction treatment medications.
  • All patients in OBOTs will receive medication adherence and substance use monitoring, to detect illicit opioid use, as well as adherence to their prescribed medication regimen.
  • OBOTs, like OTPs, will maintain a Diversion Control Plan that contains specific measures to reduce the risk for diversion of controlled substances.
  • Physicians and licensed or certified practitioners treating patients in OBOTs will certify compliance with these provisions and it will clarify that HHS will has the authority to conduct inspections and sanction OBOTs for noncompliance.
  • The General Accounting Office will perform a thorough review of opioid addiction treatment services in the United States within one-year of enactment of this bill, and every five years, thereafter.

Drugs approved by the FDA to treat opioid addiction are methadone, buprenorphine/naloxone, and extended-release injectable naltrexone.

The National Council appreciates Congress’s continual interest in improving access to treatment for opioid addiction. Stay tuned to Capitol Connector for the latest news and opportunities to take action on this issue.

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