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Welcome to Congressman Larry Bucshon

Representing the 8th District of Indiana

Dr. Bucshon Introduces Bill to Help Young Adults Struggling with Opioid Abuse

September 13, 2016
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN) and Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA) introduced the bipartisan Youth Opioid Use Treatment Help or YOUTH Act to help adolescents and young adults suffering from opioid use disorders access the treatment they need. Stigma, financial barriers, limited availability, and lack of information have contributed to the underutilization of lifesaving medication-assisted treatment programs. The YOUTH Act expands and strengthens access to medication-assisted treatment programs for adolescents and young adults. 

“Opioid use disorder is an epidemic that has devastated families and communities here in Southern Indiana and across the country. It’s heartbreaking that so many young adults are falling into addiction’s hold for one reason or another,” said Bucshon. “Our effort to expand access to treatment for the most vulnerable is about saving lives. We have to break the cycle and give those battling this disease hope for the future. As a father and doctor, I’m proud to help introduce the YOUTH Act to give young adults every chance to win this fight.”    

“I’ve met too many parents across the Commonwealth who have lost their child to opioids,” said Clark. “Stigma and a lack of resources should not stand in the way of lifesaving care. The YOUTH Act ensures that young people who are suffering from substance use disorder can get the medicine and care they need so they can focus on their health and success.” 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) young adults ages 18 to 25 are the most likely to engage in prescription opioid misuse. The incidence of heroin use has been found to be 19 times higher among people who misused prescription drugs. Substance use disorders in adolescents affect key developmental and social transitions, and can interfere with normal brain maturation. Studies show that critically needed early intervention programs in the form of counseling and medication-assisted treatments significantly reduce opioid use and help patients stay in treatment. Yet reports indicate that as many as 90 percent of youth affected by substance addiction get no treatment at all. 

The YOUTH Act reauthorizes and broadens eligibility for substance use treatment services for adolescents and young adults under the Public Health Service Act.  It authorizes the creation of programs to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for children, adolescents and young adults with opioid use disorders, and appropriates $5 million for those programs. The bill also directs the U.S. Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the existing federal programs addressing substance use among young people and any gaps in available research on those issues. The Act also directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to report to Congress on the programs’ effectiveness, as well any unintended consequences (such as abuse or diversion), among other things.

Earlier this year, the U.S. House passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), Congress’ opioid crisis response package, which included a major provision authored by Bucshon to expand access to comprehensive, evidence-based treatment options, such as medication assisted treatments, and minimize the potential for drug diversion.  Bucshon also served a member of the special conference committee comprised of members of the House and Senate that negotiated the final language signed into law by President Obama.

The YOUTH Act is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Addiction Policy Forum, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

Full text of HR. 5956 can be found here.

Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. is a physician and Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee serving his third term representing Indiana's 8th Congressional district. The 8th District of Indiana includes all or parts of Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, and Warrick counties.