WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) today reintroduced the bipartisan 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. Senators Romney and Manchin were also joined by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in introducing the legislation.
“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 once again join Senator Manchin in this 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.”
“It is past time that funding meets the need for resources, treatment facilities and healthcare providers that help Americans struggling with substance use disorder,” said Senator Manchin. “This bipartisan legislation would help our communities invest in life-saving resources 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 2022, more than 109,000 Americans died from drug-related overdoses—the highest year of overdose deaths ever recorded—with over 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. To pay for this treatment, this bill would establish a 1-cent stewardship fee on each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription pain pill. The bill includes 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 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 those recovering transition back into society.
- Establishing and/or operating facilities to provide care for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
- Establishing and/or operating substance use treatment programs in conjunction with Adult and Family Treatment Drug Courts.
Text of LifeBOAT Act can be found here.