By: Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose Steering Committee
2018 was a landmark year for the movement working to end opioid overdose in America.
The Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose (CSOO) brought together mental health, substance use disorder, and health care professional organizations to establish a unified and data-backed policy strategy to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths.
At the beginning of 2018, CSOO assessed the landscape of current and proposed policies to identify four priorities to guide the coalition’s work through the year. These priorities included:
- Enactment of additional funds to expand access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery support services and to support research into effective prevention programs and pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for addiction and chronic pain;
- Implementation of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and passage of supplemental legislation;
- Inclusion of substance use disorder treatment benefits and parity protections in any plan to replace the Affordable Care Act; and
- Passage of the YOUTH Act (S.2055/HR 3382).
Throughout the year, members of Congress and their staff sought out CSOO members for feedback and support for proposed legislation, and in response, many CSOO members joined CSOO letters of support for six key bills. Several of these bills were added in some form to the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which ultimately passed and was signed into law on October 24, 2018 by President Trump. The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act includes critical provisions to increase and strengthen the addiction treatment workforce, expand access to quality prevention, treatment, and recovery support services, and support innovative medical research to combat the opioid overdose crisis. To read CSOO’s “2018 Year in Review,” click here.
Moving forward into 2019, the CSOO Steering Committee has adopted a sweeping policy platform developed with the help of its member organizations to help guide CSOO’s activities in 2019. To read CSOO’s 2019 Policy Platform in its entirety, click here. To that end, many CSOO members plan to focus their early 2019 legislative efforts on ensuring the full funding of many of the programs authorized in the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA), the 21st Century CURES Act, and the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act. It is important to remember that just because a program has been authorized by legislation, does not mean that program will be fully funded in the appropriations process. Therefore, many CSOO members will continue to advocate for the money that was intended to make our communities recovery-ready and to reduce opioid overdose deaths actually makes it to the frontlines of this public health emergency.
Finally, CSOO was thrilled to welcome 11 new members, growing total CSOO membership from 26 to 37 members in 2018. The following organizations joined CSOO in 2018: A New PATH, the Academy of Integrative Pain Management, American College of Medical Toxicology, American Psychological Association, amfAR, HIV Alliance, The Kennedy Forum, NASTAD (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors), National Council for Behavioral Health, Shatterproof, and the South Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.
We are only as strong as our network, so we’re looking forward to adding even more organizations to our growing coalition and creating more successes in 2019 for all people and families with (or at-risk of) substance use disorder.
The Steering Committee of the Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose includes representatives from the following organizations: American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, and Young People in Recovery.