New Legislation Addressing Opioids and Addictions Will Necessitate Long-Term Affordable Housing for Those in Treatment
On October 24, 2018, the Opioid SUPPORT Bill that addresses opioids and addictions was signed into law. President Donald Trump signed the bill.
On October 3, 2018, Congress passed H.R. 6, the Substance Use–Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. This expansive bill includes a number of provisions related to opioids, but also more broadly applies to substance use disorders and behavioral health.
- The bill will greatly expand access to addictions treatment; most likely, where states can apply for a Medicaid waiver from institutions for mental disease (IMD) exclusion and vastly expand access to residential addiction treatment for a period of “not more than 30 days during a 12-month period.”
- H.R. 6 makes it clear individuals may leave residential treatment to enter a recovery housing option.
- Long-term affordable housing options will be needed for many of the people served by these expanded opportunities.
- Leaders in the addiction treatment field will become more motivated to ensure safe affordable housing options for the people they serve, either post addiction treatment and/or post recovery housing.
- Continuums of Care and other housing leaders will need to leverage strong pathways of collaboration with addiction treatment and behavioral health services, at the systems, programs, and person-centered levels.
- Expansion of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) will result in large increases of people receiving treatment.
CSH was an early endorser of H.R. 6 because supportive housing providers will undoubtedly increase their interactions with treatment providers and their desire to be educated regarding MAT, and the best practices associated with it. Supportive housing provides the opportunity for individuals in recovery to access available services that can wrap around them to ensure that they are able to remain permanently in affordable housing.
On October 24, 2018, NBC reported that, “Democrats applauded the law Wednesday as a step in the right direction, though many said the legislation did not go far enough to confront the epidemic. Some, like Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, warned that Republican threats to undo Medicare and Medicaid would only increase the death rate.
“Despite touting this new law today, President Trump and Congressional Republicans continue to threaten to undermine the health care that Americans rely on for opioid treatment,” Pallone said in a statement. “It is disingenuous at best to promise relief to people struggling with opioid addiction while also attempting to cut funding for Medicaid and eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, which include opioid use disorder.”