Congressman Michael Turner

Representing the 10th District of Ohio

Rep. Turner Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment

Feb 26, 2021
Press Release

Bipartisan Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (MAT) would stop government from restricting safe and effective treatment for millions of Americans  

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10) and Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20) introduced the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (MAT), which would eliminate a bureaucratic requirement—colloquially known as the “x-waiver”— that currently limits millions of health care professions from prescribing a safe and proven treatment, Buprenorphine, to treat patients with opioid addiction.    

"Experts on the front lines of the opioid crisis agree that Buprenorphine helps treat opioid addiction, yet under current law, we are constricting practitioners' ability to prescribe this medicine, and in doing so, limiting access to millions of Americans who desperately need help. In fact, over 40% of counties in our country do not a have a physician who is licensed to prescribe this life-saving medicine," said Turner. "I am proud to introduce landmark, bipartisan legislation, The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (MAT), that would expand practitioners’ ability to prescribe this crucial treatment option. As the opioid crisis continues to surge during COVID-19, I urge President Biden to reverse his misguided position on this issue and for Congress to take action to pass the MAT Act. Together we can stop government from getting in the way of life-saving treatment for millions of Americans battling opioid addiction.” 

A National Institutes of Health study showed France's opioid overdose deaths declined by nearly 80 percent over a four-year period after France took similar measures to make buprenorphine prescriptions possible without a waiver. 

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, over 40% of counties in the U.S. do not a have a physician who is licensed to prescribe this life-saving treatment option.  

The introduction of the MAT Act follows the Biden Administration’s decision to reverse a policy under President Trump that reduced restrictions on practitioners seeking to prescribe Buprenorphine. 

HHS under the Trump Administration stated it would update its guidelines to exempt physicians from the X-waiver, a requirement mandated by Congress in 2000 that requires physicians to receive a day’s training before they can prescribe buprenorphine, a drug that treats opioid addiction and chronic pain. Before he was elected, President Biden supported this. However, since President Biden took office, he has retracted this.  

Turner recently sent a letter to President Biden urging him to support the MAT Act. In addition, Congressman Mike Turner recently joined America’s Newsroom on Fox News with anchors Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino to discuss President Biden's misguided decision to reverse this policy.  

Organizations supporting the MAT Act include: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of PAs, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Medical Toxicology (ACMT), American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Americans for Prosperity, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Pharmacists Association, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Big Cities Health Coalition, Center for Popular Democracy, Community Catalyst, College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists, Drug Policy Alliance, End SUD, Harm Reduction Coalition, Housing Works, Mental Health America, National Association of Attorneys General, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, National Council for Behavioral Health, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National League for Nursing, Orexo, People’s Action, Popular Democracy, Shatterproof, Society of Hospital Medicine, Society of General Internal Medicine,  Stand Together, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Issues: