Opioid Package Passes Senate

Opioid Package Passes Senate

H.R. 6 SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act

Today, October 3, 2018, the Senate passed the Opioid Package, SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) by a vote of 98-1. This follows the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passing H.R. 6 with a vote of 393-8! This 653-page bill represents an historic, bipartisan, bicameral package that contains a mix of law enforcement and public health measures to create resources and change policies that will support patients, families and communities impacted by the opioid epidemic. The package is now on its way to the President’s desk for signature into law.

The conference package does not include controversial language that was in the House version of the bill related to privacy protections for drug and alcohol patient records.

Of note is that the bill includes the reauthorization and strengthening of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and its two major programs, Drug Free Communities (DFC) and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) for Fiscal Years 2018 through 2022. ONDCP and its programs have not been reauthorized since 2006.

This bill is truly comprehensive and includes programs, funding, and policy changes across the entire continuum of care – prevention, treatment, and recovery support – as well as across CADCA’s 7 Strategies for Community Change. A summary of the bill arrayed across the 7 Community Change Strategies can be found here.

 

H.R.6157 Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019.

In order to get as many appropriations bills passed before the end of the federal Fiscal Year (FY), the House and Senate employed the strategy of combining a number of separate FY 2019 appropriations bills together in packages so they would garner more support as well as speed up the process. One such bill is H.R. 6157, which packaged the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education bill with the Defense Appropriations bill. H.R. 6157 passed both houses of Congress last week and was signed into law by President Trump on September 28, 2018. This legislation also contains a continuing resolution to fund all the government agencies and programs in unpassed appropriations bills at their current levels until December 7.

The bill funds some of CADCA’s high priority programs in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which they worked hard to expand and protect, including:

$1.858 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant (level compared to FY2018)

$1.5 billion for the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program (+$500 million), and includes Report Language that CADCA helped get into the bill, to clarify that, “States receiving these grants should ensure that comprehensive, effective universal prevention strategies to stop misuse before it starts are a priority for these funds”

$458 million for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) (+$55 million), and includes restoration of the $30 million for CSAT’s Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment Program (SBIRT)

$205 million for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) (-$42 million), which is NOT actually a cut, as the reduction reflects that the Overdose Reversal/First Responder Training programs, previously funded in CSAP, have been moved to CSAT. CSAP’s Strategic Prevention Framework-Partnerships for Success program is level funded at $109 million and the RX SPF is funded at $10 million. The STOP Act Enhancement Grant program has been increased by $1 million from $5 million to $6 million, which will allow for approximately 20 new grants in FY 19.

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Leah Festa

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