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Reps. Bucshon, Axne, Miller-Meeks, and Pappas Introduce Bill to Increase Access to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.-08), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa-03), Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (R-Iowa-02), and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.-01) introduced bipartisan legislation to increase access to treatment for Americans suffering from opioid use disorder. The Timely Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder Act (H.R. 7238) would revise opioid treatment program criteria to remove the requirement that patients must have been addicted for at least one year before being admitted for treatment.


“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, substance abuse and overdoses have been on the rise making getting safe and effective opioid use disorder treatment as soon as possible critical in keeping our communities safe and healthy throughout Indiana and across the country. With nearly one in every 12 Hoosiers meeting the criteria for having a substance use disorder, Hoosiers are now more likely to die from a drug overdose than in a car crash. I am proud to introduce the Timely Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder Act to ensure that no Hoosier has to wait a year before receiving lifesaving treatment,” said Rep. Bucshon, M.D.


“Currently, people are being turned away from medication-assisted opioid treatment just because they haven’t been addicted to opioids for a full year, and that’s not acceptable,” said Rep. Axne. “This commonsense legislation will allow people who are struggling with opioid addiction and need treatment to actually get the help they need. Nearly 70,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses during 2020, and we must do more to save lives and get the opioid crisis under control. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill to cut the red tape that’s preventing folks from getting the care they need and hindering our efforts to address the opioid crisis.”


“The opioid crisis has impacted families and communities across the United States for years. Unfortunately, Iowans are no exception. Opioid addiction does not have a timeline and does not discriminate,” said Rep. Miller-Meeks, M.D. “Patients should be able to begin treatment for opioid addiction as soon as possible. I am proud to help introduce this bipartisan and commonsense legislation to help more Americans get the treatment they need.”


"As the opioid and addiction crisis continues to take the lives of our family, friends, and neighbors at an alarming rate, we must do all we can to ensure those in need of treatment can get the help they need without needless delays," said Rep. Pappas. "Overdose deaths have hit record numbers, and no family has been left untouched by the tragic outcomes we are witnessing on a daily basis. That's why we must work to remove burdensome regulations standing in the way of those seeking life-saving treatment, and this bipartisan legislation will do just that."




Since the COVID-19 pandemic became a national emergency in March 2020, there has been significant increases in substance use and drug overdoses in the United States. According to a National Center for Health Statistics report, 91,799 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2020 – a 31 percent increase over the 2019 rate. The Timely Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder Act would be an important step towards reducing opioid-related deaths across America by allowing all patients who seek treatment to receive the help they need. 


Click here for the full bill text.