Senate Passes Broad Opioid Package to Address National Crisis

Senate passes opioid package

The Council on Recovery applauds the U.S. Senate’s passage of the final version of a sweeping opioids package Wednesday. Passed with rare bipartisan support by a vote of 98-1, the bill will be sent it to the White House for expected signature.

The bill represents Congressional response to the opioid epidemic, a growing public health crisis that resulted in 72,000 drug-overdose deaths last year. The House of Representatives passed the bill last week. It combines dozens of smaller proposals, from both sides of the aisle, that affect every federal agency. The bill is aimed at addressing different aspects of the opioid crisis, including prevention, treatment and recovery.

Major Provisions

Among major provisions, the legislation creates a grant program for comprehensive recovery centers that include housing and job training, as well as mental and physical health care. It also increases access to medication-assisted treatment to help people with substance abuse disorders safely detox from the opioids.

Another portion of the bill changes a prohibition that limited Medicaid from covering patients with substance abuse disorders who were receiving treatment in a mental health facility with more than 16 beds. The bill lifts that rule to allow for 30 days of residential treatment coverage.

The bill also gives Medicare beneficiaries more information on alternative pain treatments, and expands treatment options for enrollees who are addicted to opioids.

Funding in the Bill

Congress has appropriated $8.5 billion this year for opioid-related programs, but has not guaranteed funding for subsequent years. Some members of Congress have proposed committing at least $100 billion over ten years to fight the opioid epidemic.

The Council on Recovery

The Council on Recovery is in the vanguard of local efforts to stem the opioid epidemic with a broad array of prevention, education, treatment, and recovery programs. The Council also recently hosted the 2018 Houston Opioid Summit. For more information about our services, contact us today.

2018 Houston Opioid Summit Forges Awareness & Solutions

For two full days, July 26th and 27th, more than 225 people packed the conference rooms and other venues at The Council on Recovery for the 2018 Houston Opioid Summit. In keynote addresses, panel discussions, breakout sessions, round-table discussions, and informal networking, participants gained new insights and awareness of the opioid epidemic. Representing the medical, treatment, recovery, legal, law enforcement, academic, and media sectors, Opioid Summit attendees also discussed viable and immediately actionable solutions for dealing with the crisis.

As The Council’s inaugural Opioid Summit and the first to bring together all of the major stakeholders currently battling the crisis, the Summit provided a broad range of presentations from experts in their fields. Topics included: An Overview of the Crisis in Houston; The Role of the Faith Based Community; Collaboration for Opioid Prevention; Advocacy; Therapeutic Treatment Courts; Medication Assisted Treatment; Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs’ Impact; Media’s Role & Responsibility in the Crisis; and the Impact of Addiction on Mothers & Children.

In a special closing session Friday afternoon, a full auditorium at The Council’s Hamill Foundation Conference Center heard the personal perspectives of three people whose lives were forever touched by the opioid crisis. Moderated by Khambrel Marshall, from the Opioid Summit’s media partner KPRC Channel 2, Maureen Wittels and Jim Hood told of losing their respective sons to opioid overdose. Ex-NFL star Randy Grimes shared about his 20-year opioid addiction and nine years of sobriety. The poignant discussion brought home the personal tragedy and suffering, but also provided a message of hope that Opioid Summit participants could take with them as they work together to end the scourge.

Though speaker after speaker at the Opioid Summit alluded to the prospects of stopping the opioid epidemic, most agreed it would be a long, hard battle. The Council on Recovery remains committed to leading that battle with prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services. Future Opioid Summits to be hosted by The Council will meet the opioid epidemic where it is and will again draw together the many sectors to create understanding and awareness, and take action to save lives.