Turner’s bipartisan substance abuse treatment bill advances to Senate

Bipartisan legislation offered by U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) that would make it easier for doctors to prescribe a specific drug treatment for substance abuse recently advanced to the U.S. Senate as part of a larger mental health legislative package.

“With drug overdose as the leading cause of death in Americans under 50, the passage of this legislation is critical and will greatly improve substance abuse treatment across the U.S.,” Rep. Turner said on July 5. 

The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act of 2021, H.R. 1384, which Rep. Turner cosponsored last February with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY), would allow physicians to prescribe buprenorphine without first obtaining a waiver, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Turner’s staff. The measure gained a total of 248 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

“Experts on the front lines of the opioid crisis agree that buprenorphine helps treat opioid addiction, yet under current law, we are constricting practitioners’ ability to prescribe this medicine, and in doing so, limiting access to millions of Americans who need help,” said Rep. Turner. “The MAT Act eliminates the waiver requirement to prescribe buprenorphine, thereby streamlining quality and timeliness of care.”

The House on June 22 voted 402-20 to approve H.R. 1384 as part of the bipartisan Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, H.R. 7666, introduced in May by U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ). The Senate received the larger bill on June 23 and referred it for consideration to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

H.R. 1384 garnered support from Marti Taylor, president and CEO of the OneFifteen Outpatient Clinic in Dayton, Ohio, which has worked with Rep. Turner to improve substance abuse awareness in the community through various roundtable discussions, according to the congressman’s staff.