Congressman Sean Maloney

Representing the 18th District of New York

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Maloney Applauds Signing of Massive, Bipartisan Opioid Abuse Prevention Law, Calls for Additional Funding

Oct 30, 2018
Press Release
New Bipartisan Law Provides Comprehensive Approach to Fighting Epidemic – Including Prevention, Treatment, Law Enforcement Programs

Newburgh, NY – Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) joined local health care and addiction recovery experts at Cornerstone Family Healthcare in Newburgh to outline dozens of new and reformed programs designed to target heroin and opioid abuse established by the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which was signed into law last week. The new law authorizes programs focused on prevention and treatment, in addition to efforts to support law enforcement, first responders, and to secure the border.

“There is no silver bullet solution to stopping the heroin and opioid crisis that’s devastating families and communities here in the Hudson Valley – it’s going to take a comprehensive approach that focuses on prevention, treatment, and law enforcement efforts to stop it – and that’s just what this new law does,” said Rep. Maloney. “The one thing it doesn’t do is provide the level of federal funding we need to stop this deadly crisis. Our head is in the right place with this bill, we just need to put more muscle behind it. We’re spending almost five times more on another critical public health crisis – HIV/AIDS as we are on the heroin and opioid crisis – we need to treat both threats to our public health with the urgency they require.”

“Like any public health crisis, the heroin and opioid epidemic requires a public health response, including robust federal funding,” said Linda Muller, President and CEO, Cornerstone Family Healthcare. “I want to thank the congressman for working across the aisle to make sure we’re investing in our community health centers, including in the Medication-Assisted Treatment programs which are so crucial for combating this problem."

“Each of us know someone who has been tragically affected by the opioid epidemic. As it continues to ravage our communities seemingly unabated, we must come together to provide far reaching and innovative programming which will provide the best chances of recovery,” said Michele McKeon, Chief Operating Officer of the Regional Economic Community Action Program. “This legislation will allow community based organizations, like RECAP, more opportunities and strategies to provide support and services to those affected by substance use disorder. We thank Congressman Maloney for once again placing his community above partisan politics and working across the aisle to literally save lives.”

“Certainly, any legislation that increases the access and affordability of needed treatment services and seeks to prevent and reduce access to licit and illicit substances is a good thing,” said James Conklin, Executive Director, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Orange County. “Passing legislation is step one in a process now the responsibility lies with everyone in the community of providers and advocates to ensure that these changes indeed have a positive impact on members of the community who need them.

Federal Program Funding and New Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act reauthorizes $500 million in federal funding for treatment programs originally established under the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA) in 2016. Rep. Maloney cosponsored CARA and successfully included his legislation, the Opioid Review Modernization Act, in the final bill. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act mandates the creation of a grant program to fund at least ten Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers across the country, which will emphasize the Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO) model, which closely involves health care providers in the treatment of addictions.

Reforms to Medicaid and Medicare

The bill also provides key reforms to federal health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid is a critical tool in the fight against addiction, but existing restrictions on the use of these funds precludes the program from maximizing its contribution to local residential treatment centers. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act curtails a technical rule called the “IMD Exclusion,” which prevents Medicaid dollars from going to residential treatment facilities with more than 16 beds. Historically, that has prevented residential treatment facilities, like New Life Manor, operated by Hudson Valley RECAP, from accessing federal Medicaid dollars for in-patient treatment. The new law also allows the use of Medicare funds to provide Medication-Assisted Treatment to patients who are struggling with substance abuse.

Support for Law Enforcement

The bill supports law enforcement by expanding access to overdose-reversing antidotes, like Narcan, for first responders. The bill also mandates the expansion of information-sharing between the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and local law enforcement agencies. It also cracks down on drug trafficking across the border and through the mail by expanding access to cutting-edge tools for law enforcement. Finally, the new law also expands penalties for drug manufacturers and distributors who overprescribe opioids. 

Approximately 72,000 Americans died last year of drug overdoses, two-thirds of which were linked to opioids. Additionally, Orange County in Rep. Maloney’s 18th Congressional District experiences the highest overdose death rate in the State of New York.