Treasury Department Announces that American Rescue Plan Funding Can be Used on Substance Use Services

In their recently released guidance to states about the acceptable uses of the American Rescue Plan funding, the Department of the Treasury has allowed communities to use the funding for mental health, substance use, and other behavioral health treatment services. The announcement follows a letter from Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), David B. McKinley (R-WV-01), and David Trone (D-MD-06) to Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging her to ensure that states be given flexibility to use the funding on opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery initiatives and investments, and to clearly link the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to the spike in opioid overdose deaths.

Articles & Resources

Representative Abigail Spanberger – Following Spanberger-Led Push, Treasury Department Green-Lights Use of American Rescue Plan Funding to Combat Opioid Epidemic in States & Localities

Guidance Document

House Passes Two Bills that Address the Opioid Epidemic

On May 12th, the House of Representatives passed two bills that would halt suspicious shipments of opioids and provide support to families impacted by opioid addiction. The Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act, introduced by Representative David B. McKinley (R-WV-1), would require drug manufacturers, distributors, and other Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registrants to report, halt, and investigate suspicious orders of controlled substances. The bill had previously passed the House in the 116th Congress, but did not get taken up in the Senate. The House also passed the Family Support Services for Addiction Act introduced by Representatives David Trone (D-MD-6) and Dan Meuser (R-PA-9), which would create a five-year, $25 million grant program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for nonprofit groups that provide support to families of people with substance use disorder and services that are not provided by treatment facilities or covered by insurance.

Articles & Resources

Representative David B. McKinley – House Passes McKinley Bill to Crack Down on Suspicious Shipments of Opioids

Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act

Representative David Trone – Trone Bill to Support Families Impacted by Addiction Passes House Floor

Family Support Services for Addiction Act

NIDA Leaders Publish Commentary on the Importance of the Patient Voice in Opioid Use Treatment Development

In response to an Australian study that considered patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures and found more positive PRO measures for a monthly extended release buprenorphine treatment compared to a daily sublingual buprenorphine treatment, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) leaders published commentary noting the importance of considering patient preferences in medication trials. In their commentary, NIDA leaders argued that patient voices are often missing from medication development and suggested that patient preferences and patient-reported outcomes may be more useful measures of interest than the commonly considered measure of drug abstinence. They also noted that understanding patient preference and patient satisfaction for a particular buprenorphine treatment may improve long-term retention of the treatment and reduce opioid-related overdoses and deaths.

Articles & Resources

NIDA – Long-lasting medications may improve treatment satisfaction in people with opioid use disorder

NIDA Commentary

What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the issue. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Articles & Resources

American Hospital Association – Today Not Tomorrow: It’s Time for Opioid Stewardship

Bloomberg Law – Pharmacy to Pay $2.8 Million Over Emergency Opioid Prescriptions Clinicians Treating Pain

Federal Trade Commission – FTC Returns Nearly $60 Million to Those Suffering from Opioid Addiction Who Were Allegedly Overcharged in Suboxone Film Scheme

Massachusetts Department of Public Health  – State public health officials award $2.3 million for recovery-based reentry services for Black and Latino men

Representative Paul Tonko – Tonko Pushes to Expand Addiction Treatment at Congressional Hearing

Resources for Integrated Care – Multimodal Pain Management: Considerations for

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – Whitehouse Lays Out Plans as Chair of the Senate International Narcotics Control Caucus in New Op-Ed

The Hill – Fatal drug overdoses up 30 percent in Washington state, data shows

The Hill – House fails to pass drug bill amid Jan. 6 tensions

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California – Federal Authorities Announce 11 Cases Charging Alleged Drug Dealers with Providing Opioids that Led to Fatal Overdoses

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts – Lawrence Man Sentenced for Fentanyl Conspiracy

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon – Sinaloa-based Narcotics Distributor Designated under the Kingpin Act for Trafficking Fentanyl, Heroin, and Methamphetamine in Oregon

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada – California Man Convicted Of Running Prescription Opioids Distribution Ring

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia – Dark Web Vendor of Opioids and Counterfeit U.S. Currency Pleads Guilty

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia – Berkeley County man admits to role in drug conspiracy

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – VA continues to reduce opioid prescribing throughout the pandemic

Wisconsin NPR – State Of The Tribes Address: Tribes Confront Increased Drug Use Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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