‘SUPPORT’ Act packed with bills to fight opioid crisis

Published 12:27 pm Saturday, August 4, 2018


U.S. Representative

Late last year, I wrote in this paper about the importance of passing meaningful legislation to combat our nation’s opioid crisis. During my 21-county series of Conversations with Constituents this spring, I heard from countless Second District residents about how the opioid epidemic has caused tremendous harm and pain to families and even whole communities. I am proud to report that my bill, the Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act (H.R. 5327), has passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives, along with over 50 other bills that will help to address the opioid crisis.

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No two people who suffer from opioid use disorder are the same, and they should not be treated as such. That’s why I introduced the act, which will help people with opioid use disorder get specific treatment tailored to their needs. My bill would establish a grant program for treatment facilities to offer all FDA-approved treatments for opioid use disorder and provide evidence-based treatments. These treatments could include faith-based, 12-step abstinence programs, as well as medications and other therapies to help patients overcome their addiction. These facilities would provide a full continuum of services, from intake to help with transitioning back into the workforce after their treatment is complete. The Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act passed the House in June by a bipartisan vote of 383-13.

If there is one thing we know about the opioid crisis, it is that there is no single bill or magical solution to rid our nation of the epidemic. I was proud to work with my committees, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, on several pieces of legislation to address the crisis, but the House as a whole passed over 50 opioid bills last month. These bills focused on preventing opioid addiction, providing treatment and recovery options, protecting our communities and fighting the illicit fentanyl trade. One such bill was Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr’s Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments Act (H.R. 5735), which will help people recovering from opioid use disorder find housing.

All of the bills that we passed individually were rolled into a final package — the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) — which has been referred to the Senate for that chamber’s consideration. I was proud to cosponsor and vote for the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, which includes my Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act, and which provides a wide-ranging approach to reversing the opioid epidemic.

Members of Congress joined together across the aisle and from around the country to do what we can to combat the opioid crisis using all available legislative tools. You may not hear about this effort on partisan cable news networks, but I can assure you that we in Congress are committed to solving this problem. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation as soon as possible, so we can deliver results to Kentuckians who need help.

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie represents Kentucky’s Second District in the U.S. House of Representatives.