North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein called on Congress to pass legislation to make treatment for drug addiction more affordable and accessible for Americans who most need it.
“Almost four North Carolinians die each day due to overdose,” said Attorney General Stein. “These deaths are preventable. We know there are more people living in recovery today than there are in active addiction – treatment works. To truly confront the opioid crisis, we must prioritize treatment and recovery at the federal, state and local levels.”
HR 2938 is the “Road to Recovery” Act. Attorney General Stein, along with a bipartisan group of 38 Attorneys General, wrote the U.S. House of Representatives, describing the national epidemic of heroin and opioid abuse and overdose deaths, and stating: “… [W]e cannot arrest our way out of this problem, because it is not just a public safety challenge – it is a public health challenge as well.”
The “Road to Recovery” Act will help increase access to treatment for opioid addiction by removing a more than 50-year-old provision in the Medicaid program that currently acts as a barrier to residential addiction treatment.
The bill addresses the “Institutions for Mental Diseases” (IMD) exclusion, which was created in the original 1965 Medicaid legislation to prevent the funding of large, residential mental health facilities. While the exclusion led to the closure of what was, in many cases, inhumane institutions, it now has the unintended effect of limiting Medicaid funding for residential treatment facilities, which can be one of the most effective ways to treat drug addiction.
Health care providers, insurers, treatment centers, governors of both political parties and the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis support this change in law.