WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the Life Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment (LifeBOAT) Act, bipartisan legislation which would establish a stewardship fee to provide and expand access to substance use treatment. Joining them in introducing the LifeBOAT Act include Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). A summary of the legislation can be found here.
“We must do more to provide access to treatment for those who want to escape opioid abuse and addiction,” Senator Romney said. “I’m proud to join Senator Manchin’s effort which will help fund treatment facilities around the country and offer support for those who seek treatment for addiction. Importantly, this legislation will bolster the significant work Utah has done to combat the opioid epidemic by helping to fund our state’s treatment and recovery support services.”
“Many Americans and West Virginians who struggle with substance use disorder aren’t able to access the treatment they need because we simply don’t have enough facilities, beds, or healthcare providers in our communities,” Senator Manchin said. “This bipartisan legislation would create a 1 cent stewardship fee for every milligram of opioids in a prescription pain pill which would be used to support and expand substance use treatment options for our fellow Americans in need. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this vital bipartisan legislation to help address the drug epidemic facing our nation.”
In 2020, more than 90,000 Americans died from drug related overdoses—the highest year of overdose deaths ever recorded—with more than half of those likely involving an opioid or synthetic-opioid. The LifeBOAT Act would establish a stewardship fee to fund efforts to provide and expand access to substance use treatment through the existing Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. The bill would establish a 1 cent stewardship fee on each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription pain pill and would include a rebate for cancer related pain and hospice patients and an exemption for opioids used as part of medically assisted treatment.
The funding would be used to improve access to substance use disorder treatment, including but not limited to:
- Establishing new addiction treatment facilities, residential and outpatient.
- Recruiting, training, and/or increasing reimbursement for mental health providers providing substance use disorder treatment, particularly in medically underserved or rural communities.
- Expanding access to long-term, residential treatment programs.
- Establishing and/or operating support programs that offer employment services, housing, and other support services to help a recovering addict transition back into society.
- Establishing and/or operating facilities to provide care for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
- Establishing and/or operating substance abuse treatment programs in conjunction with Adult and Family Treatment Drug Courts.