The Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose will focus on the following key strategies to combat the opioid epidemic:
The passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act (CURES) in 2016 marked major milestones in the federal policy response to the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic. CARA includes policy changes and authorized grant programs that addressed all five of the Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose’s (CSOO) 2016 policy priorities. However, much work remains to ensure meaningful funding and implementation of CARA, as well as to address other issues impacting the epidemic.
Looking ahead to 2018, with the Trump administration and 115th Congress, the health care policy environment will be changing, but the need for our concerted advocacy for policies that promote effective prevention, treatment and recovery supports will not. To ensure the ongoing federal response to the epidemic is comprehensive, evidence-based and appropriately funded, CSOO will champion the following policy platform in 2018:
- 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. The $1 billion authorized in 21st Century Cures was time-limited to two years. Advocacy is needed to 1) ensure dollars continue flowing; 2) ensure funds are used to provide evidence-based prevention programs and to provide evidence-based addiction treatment by licensed practitioners and by licensed treatment programs with accountability measures, and 3) ensure sufficient funding to support research into effective prevention programs and pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for addiction and chronic pain.
- Implementation of CARA and passage of CARA 2.0. CSOO supports full and timely implementation of CARA’s authorized programs by the regulatory agencies. The CSOO will also advocate for “CARA 2.0,” legislation that is being developed for consideration in 2018 that is intended to fill in some the remaining gaps from the original CARA bill, including:
- Mainstream prescriber education;
- Permanent buprenorphine prescribing authority for NPs and PAs and codifying the 275-patient limit for certain physicians into law;
- Reduction in barriers to Medication Assisted Treatment and take-home naloxone; such barriers may include onerous prior authorization or other medical management; and
- Federal funding and support for recovery support services.
- Inclusion of substance use disorder treatment benefits and parity protections in any plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. While efforts have thus far been successful, CSOO will continue to work to ensure Members of Congress understand the potential effects on the opioid epidemic of rolling back substance use disorder treatment benefits and parity protections and will champion their inclusion in any ACA replacement legislation.
- Passage of the YOUTH Act (S.2055/HR 3382), possibly as part of CARA 2.0.