Addressing the Opioid Crisis
Congresswoman Trahan has no higher priority than ending the opioid addiction epidemic. During her time in Congress, Congresswoman Trahan has consistently advocated for additional mental health and substance use disorder resources.
In cities and towns around the Third District, Congresswoman Trahan has met with families affected by addiction. The stories they have told her have inspired her to fight tirelessly for federal funding and multi-pronged legislative solutions to address the nation’s opioid epidemic.
Congresswoman Trahan with moms from MA03 who have lost a child to opioid addiction.
Addressing the Opioid Crisis through COVID-19
Congresswoman Trahan believes the issues of mental health and substance use disorder must be kept at the forefront of the federal response to COVID-19.
No one is immune to the incredible strain caused by this pandemic. According to the U.S. Census, a third of Americans now show signs of clinical depression or anxiety at a rate twice as high as was experienced preceding the pandemic. This trend tends to be even more severe for health care workers, first responders, and other essential workers who serve on the front lines of this crisis.
Federal Response to COVID-19
On March 27, 2020 Congresswoman Trahan voted in support of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act, a historic package that provided comprehensive aid to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus. Among its provisions, the CARES Act included $425 million in funding to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which has enabled greater access to mental health services through Community Behavioral Health Clinics and suicide prevention programs, and has targeted emergency response spending where it is needed most.
Additionally, to build on the advancements in the CARES Act, Congresswoman Trahan voted in support of the Heroes Act, which would allocate an additional $3 billion to SAMHSA to provide increased mental health and substance abuse resources.
In October 2020, Congresswoman Trahan voted in favor of the Heroes Act 2.0 which would allocate $8.5 billion to SAMHSA to provide increased mental health and substance abuse resources.
Congresswoman Trahan is proud to be a cosponsor of the Telehealth Response for E-prescribing Addiction Therapy Services (TREATS) Act to expand telehealth services for substance use disorder treatment. This legislation would permanently allow Medication Assisted Therapies (MAT) and other necessary drugs to be prescribed without needing an in-person visit and would enable audio-only telehealth services to be billed through Medicare. This bill will make care for substance use disorder much more accessible in many communities.
Additional Legislative Action to Combat the Opioid Epidemic
Strong federal investment in mental health and addiction services are vital to our communities. Below you will find additional legislative action Congresswoman Trahan has taken to address the ongoing addiction crisis facing our nation.
Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act
Our nation views addiction as a moral failing rather than a disease, and the stigma associated with substance use disorders keeps many from seeking the help they need. This stigma and lack of understanding about substance use disorder persists even within the medical community, thereby preventing far too many Americans from accessing evidence-based care for a chronic, treatable disease.
On November 1, 2019 Congresswoman Trahan introduced the MATE Act, which standardizes addiction training and equips medical professionals with the tools necessary to prevent, identify, treat, and manage patients with opioid and other substance use disorders.
Congresswoman Trahan with her 2020 SOTU guest, Cheryl Juarie.
Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act
Congresswoman Trahan is proud to be an original cosponsor of the most ambitious legislation ever introduced in Congress to confront the opioid and substance use epidemic. Endorsed by over 200 organizations, the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act would provide state and local governments with $100 billion in federal funding over ten years to address the opioid epidemic.
Safer Prescribing of Controlled Substances Act
Congresswoman Lori Trahan and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Safer Prescribing of Controlled Substances Act, legislation that requires any prescriber of opioid medication to be knowledgeable of safe prescribing practices. Specifically, it requires all prescribers that are applying for the federal license to prescribe controlled substances, such as prescription painkillers, to complete mandatory education that will help encourage responsible prescribing practices.
Of the approximately 2,000 opioid related deaths in Massachusetts in 2018, approximately 20 percent had a prescription opioid present in the postmortem toxicology screen.
Freshman Working Group on Addiction
Congresswoman Trahan is working with other newly elected colleagues to address the addiction crisis. Members of Congress from across the country, across district lines, and across party lines have come together to form the Freshman Working Group on Addiction, a group of lawmakers whose common goal is to understand the extent of the impacts of addiction and to promote policies to reduce overdoses and deaths.
Congresswoman Trahan speaking at a meeting for the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction.
Additional Supported Legislation