Congressman Turner introduced The Reforming and Expanding Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act. The introduction of the legislation followed Congressman Turner’s meeting with Director Michael Botticelli of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). This legislation will increase flexibility in how existing federal funding can be used to combat the heroin epidemic.
"As a nation, we are facing a growing epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse that is resulting in drastic increases in addiction rates, overdose deaths, and incarceration. I have been working closely with the greater Dayton community to fight this epidemic,” said Congressman Mike Turner. “This bill would take the commonsense steps to eliminate these barriers and expand access to the resources used in treating individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders.”
Dr. Kent Youngman, the CEO Mental Health & Recovery Board of Clark, Greene, and Madison Counties stated his support for the TREAT Act:
“Our local judges and prosecutors tell us that upwards of 75% of the individuals they arrest or prosecute have a drug abuse or addiction problem. Most of these individuals would not have legal problems if it were not for their addiction. Being able to adequately treat addicts while they are incarcerated will not only save dollars, it will save lives. Permitting Medicaid to be used while a person is incarcerated, many times, is the only way such treatment can be offered. If a person is in jail because of an addiction it makes sense to treat the cause of their incarceration.”
Melissa Litteral is the Director of the Greene County Adult Probation and has expressed her support for the TREAT Act and how this legislation will help incarcerated offenders:
"Having the opportunity to apply for SAMHSA grants will provide agencies the opportunity to provide drug and alcohol treatment services to those incarcerated individuals at the local level which has not been available. The Heroin epidemic in Ohio calls for action to be taken at the local level by having access to funds to treat those incarcerated offenders and still hold them accountable for their actions."
Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer has witnessed the effects of heroin on the Dayton community and supports this comprehensive legislation:
“Heroin has crept into the cities, suburbs and rural areas all across the communities in the Miami Valley. We are now battling drug cartels, heroin addicted parents, and fatalities that this county has never seen before. This epidemic is compounded by the vast gap in access to opioid addiction treatment. The TREAT Act would allow more qualified treatment providers and expand the possibilities of treatment.”
Areas of Impact
· The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) prohibits the use of grants from its Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) for substance abuse treatment services provided to individuals who are incarcerated. Under this bill, these resources will be made available to individuals in both community-based and institutional settings.
· Under Medicaid’s Institution for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion facilities with more than sixteen beds are not eligible for reimbursement. As such, the IMD exclusion prevents reimbursement for substance abuse treatment provided to incarcerated individuals who are otherwise enrolled in or eligible for Medicaid. Under this bill, substance abuse treatment provided at correctional institutions would become eligible for reimbursement.
Congressman Turner has been fighting this issue in Southwest Ohio 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