The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act

10 key provisions in the legislation:

  1.  STOP Act—to stop illegal drugs, including fentanyl, at the border

    2. New non-addictive painkillers, research and fast-track

    3. Blister packs for opioids, such as a 3 or 7 day supply

    4. Extends support for Medicaid patients seeking treatment from 15 to 30 days, covering all substance use disorders

    5. TREAT Act—permanently allows more medical professionals to treat people in recovery to prevent relapse and overdoses

    6. Prevent “doctor-shopping” by improving state prescription drug monitoring programs 

    7. More behavioral and mental health providers

    8. Support for comprehensive opioid recovery centers

    9. Help for babies born in opioid withdrawal and for mothers with opioid use disorders

    10. More early intervention with vulnerable children who have experienced trauma

Separately, Congress has appropriated $8.5 billion this year towards fighting the opioid crisis, after the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill Congress passed in March included $4.7 billion to fight the opioid crisis and the FY2019 Health and Human Services Appropriations bill the Senate passed in September included $3.8 billion to fight the crisis. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act will help states and communities use these funds to better address the opioid crisis.

Congress Takes Action

September 26, 2018: Alexander: Senate and House Reach Consensus on What Senate Leader McConnell Calls "Lankmark" Opioids Legislation 

HELP Committee Takes Action

April 24, 2018: Alexander: Senate Health Committee Unanimously Passes Bipartisan Bill to Take Next Step in Helping States Fight Opioid Crisis

April 17, 2018: Sens. Alexander, Murray Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Address “Urgent Opioid Crisis”

April 11, 2018: Alexander: Opioids Bill Next Step in Helping End National Opioid Crisis

April 5, 2018: Alexander: Draft Legislation Will Help Address Urgent Opioid Crisis

March 8, 2018: Alexander: Governors Take Lead in Supplying Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug, Improving Drug Monitoring Programs

February 27, 2018: Alexander: Most Helpful Federal Role in Opioid Fight May Be Supporting “Amazing Potential” of Technology

February 8, 2018: Alexander: Tennessee on Front Lines as Opioid Crisis Has Caused a “Sharp Increase” in Babies Born in Withdrawal

January 9, 2018: Alexander: Washington, D.C. Can Help, But Solution to Opioid Crisis is Strong Community

December 14, 2017: Alexander, Murray Ask Nation’s Governors, Insurance Commissioners How Federal Government Can Be Best Partner for States on the Front Lines of Opioid Crisis

November 30, 2017: Alexander: Federal Government Should Be the Best Possible Partner for States on Front Lines of Opioid Crisis “Ravaging” Our Countr

October 5, 2017: Alexander Begins Series of Hearings on Opioid Crisis That is “Tearing Our Communities and Families Apart"

Finance Committee Takes Action

June 14, 2018: Senate Finance Committee’s HEAL Act, A Critical Step Toward Tackling the Opioid Crisis

June 12, 2018: Finance Committee Advances Legislation to Address Opioid Epidemic

June 12, 2018: Hatch Opening Statement at Markup of Legislation to Address Opioid Crisis

June 12, 2018:  Open Executive Session to Consider an Original Bill Entitled Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorders Act of 2018

June 7, 2018: Hatch, Wyden Announce Markup of Legislation to Address Opioid Epidemic in Medicare, Medicaid & Human Services

April 19, 2018: Hatch Opening Statement at Finance Hearing on Tackling Substance Abuse in Medicare, Medicaid

Feb. 5, 2018: Hatch, Wyden Seek Feedback to Improve Medicare, Medicaid Responses to Opioid Epidemic

Oct. 3, 2017: Hatch, Finance Committee Republicans Urge HHS to Increase Safeguards Against Opioid Fraud


Judiciary Committee Takes Action

June 14, 2018: Judiciary Committee Passes Six Bills in Fight against Opioid Crisis

Commerce Committee Takes Action

May 22, 2018:  Committee Approves 5 Bills, 2 Nominees, and Coast Guard Promotions 

August 3, 2017Consumer Protection Subcommittee hearing: Insurance Fraud in America: Current Issues Facing Industry and Consumers 

May 17, 2017: Full Committee hearing: Current Issues in American Sports: Protecting the Health and Safety of American Athletes 

Senate Opioid Accomplishments

November 2015 – Protecting Our Infants Act became law – the law required HHS to develop a strategy for addressing research gaps, and program gaps, overlap, and duplication related to prenatal opioid abuse.

July 2016 – Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 became law – it established new programs and encouraged those on the front lines to work together to combat substance abuse, especially opioid abuse In 2017, the Trump administration announced $144 million in grants under CARA awarded to states, cities, health care providers, and community organizations

December 2016 -- 21st Century Cures Act signed into law -- Provided $1 billion in grants to states to help fight the opioid epidemic by improving prescription drug monitoring programs, implementing prevention activities, and training health care providers on overdose prevention and recognizing potential cases of substance abuse.

August 2017 – Jessie’s Law passed the Senate – The would encourage sharing of a patient’s opioid use disorder information in the electronic health record of a patient who makes such request, while still protecting patient privacy.

March 2018 -- FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations signed into law -- included $4.6 billion in funding to address the opioid crisis.

  • 500 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including for research to develop a new non-addictive pain killer.
  • $330 million for law enforcement grant programs, including those that were authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).
  • $1 billion for state opioid grants, which is double the amount authorized under the 21st Century Cures Act.
  • $476 million-- an increase of $350 million-- for Department of Health and Human Service grants to help fight the opioid crisis, including funding for state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs

April 2018 – Opioid Crisis Response Act passed by Senate HELP Committee -- legislation includes over 40 different proposals, from 38 different senators of both political parties, including to help stop illegal drugs like fentanyl at the border, accelerate research on new non-addictive pain medicines, reduce the number of inappropriately prescribed opioids, and support for children who have experienced trauma, such as a parent using opioids.

May 2018 – Commerce Committee advances two opioid bills to expand drug and alcohol testing requirements to more railroad employees and empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general with additional tools to protect individuals with opioid use disorder and their families from harmful and misleading addiction treatment programs and products.

June 2018 -- Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorders Act of 2018 approved by Senate Finance Committee. Package includes 22 bipartisan bills that improve how Medicare, Medicaid and human services programs respond to the opioid crisis and help those struggling with a substance use disorder.

June 2018 -- Senate Judiciary Committee advances six bipartisan bills – bills aimed at combatting the ongoing opioid epidemic, focus largely on enhancing enforcement and reducing the misuse of prescription opioids.

September 2018 – FY2019 Labor, Health & Human Services, Education Appropriations bill passed Senate – included $3.8 billion for programs to combat opioid abuse.

  • $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response grants
  • $500 million for NIH research to develop non-addictive painkillers
  • $200 million for Community Health Centers to support and enhance behavioral health, mental health, or substance use disorder services.
  • $130 million, an increase of $15 million, focused on responding to the opioid epidemic in rural communities.