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Shelley Starkey

House Passes Final Opioid Package

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After months of work on the topic, the House of Representatives last Friday passed a wide-ranging package of legislation aimed at addressing various facets of the opioid crisis. The bipartisan Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act (H.R. 6) combines 58 individual previously-passed bills that focus on topics ranging from expanding access to opioid addiction treatment to encouraging the adoption of alternative forms of pain management and more. Attention now turns to the Senate as legislators are building their own version of an opioid package, which will need to be reconciled with the House version before being signed into law by the president.


Throughout Congress’ attention and efforts to address the opioid crisis, the National Council has been advocating for a number of important measures, some of which were included in the final SUPPORT Act. Among National Council priorities that were included are:


While the SUPPORT ACT largely consolidated bipartisan, noncontroversial measures, there was a notable exception with the inclusion of a bill to loosen the IMD rule. The IMD CARE Act (H.R. 5797) lifts what is known as the “IMD exclusion,” to provide Medicaid payments for in-patient opioid addiction treatment for individuals for up to 30 days in certain facilities. The National Council has long supported lifting the IMD exclusion, but the bill’s exclusive focus on individuals with opioid addiction raises concerns about accessibility of services for individuals living with addiction to other substances. Moreover, a continued lack of investment in community-based care could hinder individuals’ progress toward recovery if they are unable to access timely, high-quality outpatient services upon leaving residential care.

Notably, another controversial measure – the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act (H.R. 6082), which would amend the regulation governing the sharing of substance use disorder treatment records (42 CFR Part 2), was not included in the SUPPORT Act.