Statement of Nicholas Mercadante, Esq., CEO & Founder, PursueCare
On Friday, May 13, PursueCare joined more than 100 organizations to issue a coalition letter urging Congress to pass the bipartisan Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act. If passed, the MAT Act would remove federal barriers to medications for opioid use disorder, increase access to lifesaving treatment for thousands of people with addiction, and reduce stigma.
Last week, the CDC announced that the U.S. saw nearly 108,000 overdose deaths between December 2020 and December 2021. Overdose deaths are preventable through evidence-based treatment, including medication. By passing the MAT Act, Congress can prevent future deaths and help people with substance use disorder find recovery.
The full text of the letter can be read below.
May 13, 2022
The Honorable Frank Pallone, Jr.
Energy and Commerce Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Energy and Commerce Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
RE: The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (“MAT Act”, H.R. 1384 / S. 445)
Dear Chair Pallone and Ranking Member McMorris Rodgers,
On behalf of the more than 100 undersigned organizations, we thank you for working together to address the mental health and substance use disorder crises. As you consider the provisions of the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, we urge you to include the bipartisan Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (MAT Act, H.R. 1384 / S. 445) in the package before it is voted out of committee.
The MAT Act is a common-sense solution to our nation’s substance use disorder crisis that will prevent overdoses, increase access to treatment, and reduce stigma. The legislation will open the doors to recovery for countless individuals by helping to integrate substance use disorder treatment into primary care practices, emergency departments, and other health care settings.
The overdose epidemic continues to devastate American families in every state. The United States is now losing nearly 108,000 people to overdoses in a year – more deaths than at any other time in history. But, due to outdated federal law, only about 1 in 10 people with opioid use disorder receive medications for the condition, which are considered the gold standard of care. Without decisive action to increase access to treatment and equip communities with much needed tools, the overdose crisis will only continue to worsen.
As you consider the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, you have the opportunity to expand access to lifesaving treatment by eliminating a significant federal barrier that restricts access to an essential medication for opioid use disorder. This barrier, known as the “X-waiver,” is an outdated federal restriction that prevents health care providers from prescribing buprenorphine, a safe and effective FDA-approved medication that prevents overdoses and supports recovery. Due to the X-waiver, only 1 in 12 eligible health care providers can prescribe this lifesaving medication to patients with opioid use disorder. The MAT Act will eliminate the outdated, burdensome X-waiver and allow health care providers with a standard controlled medication license to prescribe buprenorphine to patients with opioid use disorder. We urge you to include the MAT Act in the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act before it proceeds to the floor of the House of Representatives.
The MAT Act has overwhelming bipartisan support across Congress. More than half of the House of Representatives has cosponsored the MAT Act, including the Chairs of the Democratic Caucus and the Republican Conference, several members of the GOP Doctors Caucus, all four co-chairs of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, the vast majority of the Energy and Commerce members, and nearly every Representative in the New Jersey and Washington delegations. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents agree that the MAT Act is a common-sense solution that can help stem the tide of the overdose crisis.
Thank you again for being champions for combatting the opioid epidemic. We look forward to working together to make the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act as impactful as it can be for the millions in need and strongly encourage you to ensure that the MAT Act is included in the package. The MAT Act will destigmatize an essential treatment, help countless individuals stay safe from overdoses, and extend hope and healing to communities across the country.
Please contact Ryan Greenstein, Associate Director of Advocacy at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s Overdose Prevention Initiative, at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
cc: Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee
American Academy of PAs
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R)
American Association of Nurse Practitioners
American College of Emergency Physicians
American College of Medical Toxicology
American Jail Association
American Nurses Association
American Pharmacists Association
Americans for Prosperity
Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
Big Cities Health Coalition
Caring Ambassadors Program
Center for Popular Democracy
College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME)
College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP)
Drug Policy Alliance
End Substance Use Disorder
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice
Healthcare Leadership Council
International Society for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses
Legal Action Center
Mental Health America
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association for Rural Mental Health
National Association of Attorneys General
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
National Council for Mental Wellbeing
National District Attorneys Association
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
National Sheriffs’ Association
National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR)
Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Overdose Prevention Initiative at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator
Partnership to End Addiction
PAs in Virtual Medicine & Telemedicine
Society of Behavioral Medicine
Society of Hospital Medicine
Society of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacists
The Kennedy Forum
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Treatment Action Group
Treatment Advocacy Center
Treatment Communities of America
Union for Reform Judaism
Veterans for Common Sense
Young People in Recovery
Association for Utah Community Health
Central City Concern
Citizen Action of New York
Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Clear Bell Solutions
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Country Doctor Community Health Center
Down Home NC
End Overdose Together
Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center
Hepatitis C Mentor and Support Group-HCMSG
King County, WA
Maine People’s Alliance
Michigan People’s Campaign
Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers
Monterey County Prescribe Safe Initiative
New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc.
New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition
New Jersey Organizing Project
Pennsylvania Stands Up
Rights & Democracy
River Valley Organizing
San Francisco Rising
Showing Up for Racial Justice Ohio
Spokane Police Department
Summit Pacific Medical Center
United Vision for Idaho
Virginia College of Emergency Physicians
Western Maine Addiction Recovery Initiative
WV Citizen Action Group
Reach out to Ben Orton-Vipond and the Overdose Prevention Initiative of the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (email@example.com) or Erin Schanning at End Substance Use Disorder (firstname.lastname@example.org).