Blumenthal, Murphy, Colleagues Call on HHS to Follow Senate Lead in Increasing Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment

Senators joined bipartisan group of 22 senators in calling on the Department to raise the cap on prescribing buprenorphine to 500 patients

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), led by Senators Hatch (R-UT) and Markey (D-MA), joined a bipartisan group of 22 senators in writing to Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to call on HHS to allow for greater access to medication assisted treatment (MAT) in the Department’s proposed rule on the topic published on March 30, 2016.

The proposed rule on MAT would increase the highest limit on the number of patients waivered practitioners can treat with buprenorphine from 100 patients per practitioner to 200 patients. The Senate is also currently advancing legislation that would raise this patient cap to 500 patients.  The letter sent by the group of Senators today urges HHS to take into account the bipartisan work done by the Senate on this legislation, S. 1455, The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment (TREAT) Act, when finalizing their proposed rule.

“Addiction experts agree that individuals suffering from an opioid need access to a broad range of treatments, including MAT, which involves a combination of medications and therapeutic supports to help people recover from opioid use disorders. Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that MAT reduces drug use, disease rates, and criminal activity among individuals experiencing opioid addiction. Specifically, buprenorphine mono or combination therapy helps to reduce the transmission of IV and hepatitis among drug users and the occurrence of high-risk injection practices,” the letter states.

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

The letter to HHS is also signed by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).