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Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10) testified today at the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health about how his TREAT Act would curb the opioid crisis. You can watch the full clip by clicking on the video above.

“Thank you Chairman Burgess, Ranking Member Green, and members of the Subcommittee. I want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today on this important issue.

As the Chairman said, I come from Dayton, Ohio. My counties in Ohio are Montgomery, Greene, and Fayette.

Despite our community’s efforts to battle the opiate epidemic for years, the epidemic continues to destroy my community and my constituents on a daily basis.

This year, current estimates suggest that 800 people could die in my primary county, Montgomery County, due to opiate overdose.  Sadly, that would more than double the 371 drug overdose deaths from 2016, the highest number recorded to date. Imagine 800 families receiving notice that someone in their family has died as a result of opioid overdose.

Heartbreaking numbers like this have made Montgomery County, Ohio ground zero in the fight against opioid abuse and addiction.

Recently, working in conjunction with the county sheriff, I have called for the appointment of a Dayton-area drug czar to help us streamline and coordinate our region’s response to this epidemic.

While I worked on the local basis to stem this tide, today I would like to highlight my bill H.R. 982, The Reforming and Expanding Access to Treatment Act, the TREAT Act.

As the title suggests, the TREAT Act would increase access to substance abuse treatment by lifting two restrictions that hamstring full deployment of federal resources.

Medicaid’s Institutes for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion states that facilities with more than 16 beds – like jails – are not eligible for reimbursement for substance abuse treatment services furnished to individuals who are incarcerated.

Compounding the problem, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) policy dating to 1995 limits the use of grants from its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) to only community-based treatment facilities, excluding those who are incarcerated.

My TREAT Act offers a common-sense solution that would eliminate these barriers to treatment for individuals who are incarcerated by allowing Medicaid to reimburse for substance abuse treatment services furnished to individuals who are incarcerated. There’s no reason why someone who is Medicaid eligible should lose their benefits the moment they become incarcerated.

Lifting the SAMHSA policy that prohibits the use of grant funding for providing substance abuse treatment to individuals who are incarcerated would also assist.

Since I first introduced the TREAT Act in November 2015 and then reintroduced it in this Congress, it has garnered a broad spectrum of support from law enforcement to medical providers to local jurisdictions.

The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis’ Interim Report, which was just issued July 31, 2017, strongly endorsed this concept that is in the TREAT Act.

The White House Commission called lifting Medicaid’s IMD exclusion the “single fastest way to increase treatment availability across the nation,” noting that “every Governor, numerous treatment providers, parents, and non-profit advocacy organizations” have urged this course of action.

Chairman Burgess, Ranking Member Green, and members of the Subcommittee, lives are at stake. This would be an important step to bring treatment to those individuals at a time we have an ability to intervene in their lives.”

Congressman Turner has been fighting the opioid epidemic in Dayton since 2013:

  • December 18, 2013: Toured Soin Medical Center, where issue of Heroin-Exposed Newborns was raised.
  • March 10, 2014: Met with area hospitals to discuss the growing issue of Heroin-Exposed Newborns.
  • May 15, 2014: Visited Dayton Children’s Hospital NICU to discuss infant heroin exposure and the withdrawal and recovery process.
  • June 30, 2014: Held a Community Forum on the Effects of the Heroin Epidemic on Newborns.
  • August 27, 2014: Visited the Women’s Recovery Center.
  • May 2015: Held Community Summit on Heroin-Exposed Infants.
  • August 21, 2015: Toured Greene County Jail and Green Leaf Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program; met with criminal justice system administrators and substance abuse and mental health leadership.
  • November 18, 2015: Met with ONDCP Director Michael Botticelli and introduced the TREAT Act with Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-3).
  • May 12, 2016: The House passed an amendment he cosponsored to increase access to treatment for pregnant women struggling with substance abuse.
  • May 25, 2016: Introduced CRIB Act to help expand access to specialized treatment and recovery options for infants suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a withdrawal condition in newborns often caused by use of opioids and other addictive substances in pregnant women.
  • August 29, 2016: Hosted a Heroin Epidemic Response Roundtable with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05).
  • October 28, 2016: Hosted a roundtable discussion on the opioid and heroin epidemic in Dayton with Senator Rob Portman (OH).
  • February 2, 2017: Joined the bipartisan Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus.
  • February 7, 2017: Reintroduced the TREAT Act.
  • May 17, 2017: Reintroduced CRIB Act with Congressman Evan Jenkins (WV-03).
  • August 7, 2017: TREAT Act concept supported by President Donald Trump’s Commission to Combat Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
  • September 20, 2017: Helped secure funding for the Community Action Commission of Fayette County to help prevent youth substance abuse.
  • September 22, 2017: Spoke at the Payne Theological Seminary Recovery Month Celebration.
  • September 22, 2017: Visited Alkermes with Congressman Steve Stivers (OH-15) to learn about its medical approach to combating the opioid epidemic.
  • September 25, 2017: Held a opioid prevention forum with local leaders and joined Sheriff Plummer in calling for a drug czar.
  • October 5, 2017: Sent a letter with Sheriff Plummer to Phil Parker, President and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Jeff Hoagland, President and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, asking for a recommendation in identifying possible candidates for a Dayton Region Drug Czar.