Major healthcare legislation is unlikely in an evenly divided Congress with looming elections. However, Congress is addressing the opioid crisis with the SUPPORT Act, passed by the House with bipartisan support. This Act focuses on reducing the impact of fentanyl in rural areas through training and education, reauthorizes support for substance use disorder treatment, and places the animal tranquilizer xylazine (tranq) under Schedule 3 of the Controlled Substances Act. Xylazine, mixed with heroin and fentanyl, has increased overdose risks. The Act also continues funding for pregnant and postpartum women’s substance use disorder treatment and ensures Medicaid access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. This response addresses the evolving opioid epidemic, intensified by fentanyl and synthetic opioids. The bill aims to restore hope and healing with support from healthcare workers and law enforcement. It builds upon the 2018 SUPPORT Act and is backed by the American Hospital Association for extending Medicaid coverage for MAT.
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[Source: MM+M, December 21st, 2023]