Hearing Marks One-Year Anniversary of Bipartisan SUPPORT Act, a Bill Hassan Helped Develop to Combat Opioid Epidemic
To watch the Senator’s questioning, click here.
WASHINGTON – On the one-year anniversary of the signing of the bipartisan SUPPORT Act that Senator Maggie Hassan helped develop, the Senator participated in a Finance Committee hearing today on combating the substance misuse crisis. In particular, the Senator focused on the need to break down barriers to recovery for women who struggle with substance misuse, as well as emphasized the importance of medication-assisted treatment for those suffering from opioid use disorder. The hearing also addressed a Government Accountability Office report that Senator Hassan requested discussing oversight of recovery housing.
Senator Hassan began her questioning by applauding the one-year anniversary of the SUPPORT Act: “A year ago today, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act was signed into law. The passage of this legislation was a critical step in addressing the opioid crisis. But the crisis didn’t happen overnight, and we know that it will take a continuous and sustained investment at the federal level to curb – and ultimately reverse – the tide of what is truly a horrible epidemic.”
Senator Hassan went on to address the barriers that mothers face when receiving treatment for substance misuse, and highlighted a report from the Government Accountability Office that examined oversight of recovery houses in Massachusetts, Florida, Ohio, Texas, and Utah. “Reporting from news outlets throughout New England, as well as the GAO report we’re discussing today, have shown that some recovery homes are scamming patients and they’re not using evidence-based treatments,” Senator Hassan continued. “We have some good examples of what works. Residential recovery homes that offer services for pregnant and postpartum moms, like Hope on Haven Hill in Rochester, New Hampshire, have proven to be really effective. And, data shows that when pregnant women and new moms have access to long-term, evidence-based treatment, outcomes improve for the entire family.”
When asked how the Department of Health and Human Services is addressing this barrier to evidence-based treatment, Surgeon General Jerome Adams pointed to a national training initiative for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, which lifts up best practices that include keeping the mother and their child together while the mother is receiving treatment. Dr. Adams also highlighted the Maternal Opioid Misuse (MOM) model from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which would increase and improve access to effective substance use disorder treatment for both pregnant and post-partum patients.
Senator Hassan also raised the importance of expanding access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), discussing a bipartisan bill she introduced with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that would remove barriers for physicians so that they can prescribe MAT for more patients. “I am concerned that people don’t understand that [medication-assisted treatment] is the gold standard, and how important it is. I’m concerned about the stigma attached to MAT still.”