TODAY: Join the July All-Participants Meeting at 3PM Eastern with ONDCP Presentation and Rescue Medication in Schools Policy Roundtable Launch

CEPOP will be hosting its July All-Participants Teleconference today at 3:00 pm ET. Today’s meeting includes presentations from ONDCP on the recently published Fentanyl Adulterated or Associated with Xylazine Response Plan. The steering committee also will launch the development of a policy roundtable on school policies around student access to rescue medication. Please contact Sanjyot Sangodkar for meeting details.

Biden Administration Announces Proposed Rule to Strengthen Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

The Biden Administration announced rules early last week to support and strengthen the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). The proposed rule would support people seeking mental health and opioid use disorder benefits. The rule outlines when plans can utilize prior authorization, enhanced requirements for compliance with the 2008 law, and research into coverage outcomes to ensure access to mental health care. Additionally, the rule will focus on improving the costs and access associated with out-of-network care for mental health and substance use disorder benefits. In his thoughts on the policy, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “In support of the President’s Unity Agenda, we continue to take actions to address the nation’s mental health crisis. We are ensuring that mental health is treated no differently than physical health and people in need of services have equitable access to care.”

Articles & Resources

White House—Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Make it Easier to Access In-Network Mental Health Care

HHS-Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Treasury announce proposed rules to strengthen Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act

Movement with SUPPORT Act Reauthorization

In recent weeks, Congress has been active in advancing the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act reauthorization language. The SUPPORT Act, originally introduced in 2018, approved a number of policies and programs to combat the opioid epidemic and improve access and methods of treatment. The existing authorizations will expire in August.

On July 19th, the House Energy & Commerce (E&C) Committee marked up and approved their version of the bill, the H.R. 4531 Support for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act. Headed by Representatives Brett Guthrie (KY-02) and Annie Kuster (NH-02), the bill supports the following:

  • Reauthorize Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Overdose Data to Action grant program
  • Ensure grant programs covering overdose reversal agents are not limited to naloxone
  • Study the scheduling of buprenorphine
  • Research and legislation surrounding Xylazine

Shortly after the E&C markup, Senator Bill Cassidy (LA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, introduced S. 2433 the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Authorization Act of 2023. The legislation includes policies related to:

  • Reauthorizing the CDC’s Overdose Data to Action grant program
  • Direct NIH to submit semiannual reports to Congress involving access to methadone for opioid use disorder in treatment programs and other settings
  • Direct the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide Congress with a report on the impact of the elimination of the buprenorphine X-waiver on access to medication for opioid use disorder

A sectional breakdown of both bills can be found below in the Articles and Resources section.

Articles & Resources

Representative Guthrie—Support for Patients and Communities Reauthorization: Section by Section

Senator Cassidy—SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act: Section by Section

What We Read Last Week

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

The Economist—Fentanyl is spreading the opioid crisis into America’s big cities

Healthcare Finance—HHS Distributes $47.8 million to expand access to opioid use disorder medications

JAMA Network—Characteristics and Prescribing Patterns of Clinicians Waivered to Prescribe Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder Before and After Release of New Practice Guidelines

NPR—A Texas A&M professor was suspended for allegedly criticizing lieutenant governor

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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