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Trahan-Sponsored Opioid Legislation, The MATE Act, Subject of House Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Subcommittee on Health for the Committee on Energy and Commerce considered a slate of bills to support patients suffering from substance use disorders (SUD). Among the legislation considered was H.R. 4974, the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act – a bipartisan bill introduced by Congresswoman Trahan in November 2019. The MATE Act would standardize substance use disorder training to ensure that all prescribers of controlled medications possess baseline knowledge in evidence-based addiction prevention and treatment.

Two of the hearing’s witnesses, Michael P. Botticelli, Executive Director, Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center and Shawn A. Ryan, MD, MBA, Chair, Legislative Advocacy Committee, American Society of Addiction Medicine testified in favor of the MATE Act. 

Dr. James L. Baker, M.P.H., a pain management expert from Massachusetts who lost his 23-year-old son to an opioid overdose and previously advocated in favor of the MATE Act, was also in attendance. Dr. Baker was in DC by invitation of Rep. Trahan for a previous meeting of the Bipartisan Freshman Working Group on Addiction. 

“There is not a community in Massachusetts or the United States that is immune from substance use disorders - especially when it comes to the opioid crisis. We must take a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach that strengthens the infrastructure around prevention and treatment, said Congresswoman Trahan. “This starts with addressing stigma and lack of understanding on addiction which persist even within the medical community. By standardizing training, we can equip medical professionals across our health care system to prevent, identify, treat, and manage patients with opioid and other substance use disorders. The MATE Act is the effective way forward in ensuring that Americans access evidence-based care for this chronic, treatable disease. I am pleased that the Energy and Commerce Committee gave this legislation the attention it deserves.”

“Passing the MATE Act is critical for addressing the ongoing overdose crisis, because it will significantly increase the number of clinicians educated about assessing and treating patients with addiction,” said Shawn Ryan, MD, MBA, FASAM, a board certified emergency-physician and addiction treatment specialist in Ohio and Chair of the Legislative Advocacy Committee of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.  “The MATE Act brings addiction treatment into a new era when our nation’s medical workforce is better prepared to prevent and treat addiction. Ultimately, the training and education supported by the MATE Act will save lives by broadening access to evidence-based treatments for individuals living with the chronic, but treatable, disease of addiction.”

 "At Boston Medical Center we know that it is not only very important for clinicians to become trained to prescribe medication for addiction treatment (MAT), but that clinicians and staff are trained to treat the whole patient with addiction, which is why we encourage all of our primary care and emergency room providers to be waiver trained for MAT and why we offer supplemental addiction training to all staff. It's also why we strongly support Congresswoman Trahan's bill to require all prescribers to be trained in addiction treatment,” said Kate Walsh, President and CEO Boston Medical Center.

“Congresswoman Trahan’s bold call for physicians to respond to the opioid crisis by learning how to provide medically assisted treatment will save many thousands of lives and prevent devastation to families from the death of a loved one from an overdose,”said James L. Baker, M.D., M.P.H., pain management expert in Massachusetts who lost his 23 year old son to an opioid overdose. “Physicians could provide care for patients with opioid addiction starting right in the office, beginning their recovery on the first day they ask for help.  Medical care could be started in any emergency department, day or night, whenever the patient is ready to recover.  Patients could remain home with their families as they continue their recovery and rebuild their lives. I wish this had been available when my son was still alive and need of treatment. I am pleased that the House Energy and Commerce Committee is taking action to advance the MATE Act.” 

The MATE Act is endorsed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, National Council for Behavioral Health, The Kennedy Forum, National Safety Council, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids + Center on Addiction, Shatterproof, SMART Recovery, Faces and Voices of Recovery, Young People in Recovery, CADA of Northwest Louisiana, Connecticut Certification Board, National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, and American College of Medical Toxicology.