WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) responded to President Trump’s opioid announcement today saying he is ready to work with the Administration on public health approaches to combat the addiction epidemic, but that Ohioans need action, not talk. Brown is working to secure funding for Ohio in the budget Congress will pass this week. Brown is also pushing to fully fund his INTERDICT Act, to give Customs and Border Protection agents the tools to detect and stop deadly fentanyl at the border.
The President’s plan includes initiatives Brown has called for, including:
- Eliminating an outdated cap on the number of beds at substance abuse treatment facilities that can be covered under Medicaid,
- Increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and
- Increasing access to naloxone.
“The President said a lot of the right things today, but Ohioans need action,” Brown said. “I am ready to work with the Administration to get Ohio communities and law enforcement the resources they need to prevent and treat addiction, starting with the budget Congress will approve this week.”
In January, the President heeded Brown’s call to extend the emergency declaration for the opioid epidemic. And Brown has consistently pushed for the Administration to use the declaration to take action and make investments in combatting this public health epidemic.
The plan the President announced today includes initiatives Brown has called for, including:
- Eliminating an outdated cap on the number of beds at substance abuse treatment facilities that can be covered under Medicaid. Current law limits use of Medicaid funding for residential mental health or substance abuse treatment to facilities with just 16 beds or less, which prevents many Ohioans from getting the help they need. Brown has legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to lift the cap so Ohioans can get care.
- Increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Brown has worked on legislation to expand use of MAT, which was included in the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA), which Brown supported. He has also cosponsored The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act (TREAT Act) to further expand access to this effective form of treatment.
- Increasing access to naloxone. Brown has called on the government to boost funding to help first responders maintain a supply of naloxone and supported CARA, which authorized funding for overdose reversal drugs.
President Trump also discussed the use of opioids to facilitate human trafficking. Brown has legislation, the Protecting Rights of Those Exploited by Coercive Trafficking (PROTECT) Act, to address drug-facilitated human trafficking and protect victims.