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How Does the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act Combat the Opioid Crisis?


On average, 115 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there has been a five-fold increase in opioid overdose fatalities between 1999 and 2016. This figure accounts for both prescription opioids and illegal sources, such as heroin.

Last week, in a speech at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C., the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, addressed the agency’s role in the recent opioid crisis.

“[The FDA was] too slow to change labeling on certain drugs to discourage chronic prescribing in situations where it is inappropriate,” Gottlieb stated.

The opioid addiction emergency may have roots in unconstrained prescription practices, particularly following surgical procedures for associated acute pain. Today, babies are being born with severe neonatal conditions with possible permanent side effects. Newborn children have developed disorders whereby they are utterly dependent on opioids – also known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act

This past October, President Trump signed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act).

The SUPPORT Act’s essential provisions include:

  • Required insurance benefits for mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) under State Children’s Health Insurance Programs;
  • Use of Medicaid to fund services for babies with NAS;
  • Medicaid coverage for former foster children until they reach 26 years old;
  • Improved SUD screening for Medicare beneficiaries;
  • Coverage for opioid treatment services and opioid-agonist therapy;
  • Medicaid coverage for up to 30 days per year for certain institutions of mental disease (IMD) for patients with SUD;
  • Requiring the Department of Health and Humans Services (DHS) to promote opportunities for states to obtain Medicaid reimbursements for SUD evaluations, medication-assisted rehabilitation, therapy, and other SUD services;
  • Prohibits terminating Medicaid coverage for incarcerated juveniles. Instead, coverage is suspended and later reinstated upon their release; and
  • Increasing access to evidence-based SUD treatment for pregnant women, children, and rural residents, and those in recovery.

Compassionate Advocacy by Our Drug Injury Attorney in Louisville, KY

Although not currently considering cases for addicted individuals, the law offices of Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC is considering representation of children born addicted to or in withdrawal from opioids (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)). If you have custody of, are guardian for or provide care for a child born in withdrawal from or addicted to opioids who has been diagnosed with NAS, you are encouraged reach out to Attorney Brett H. Oppenheimer.  Brett has lectured across the country on the topic and has experience in product liability cases against large pharmaceutical companies that have produced harmful drugs and medical devices. Our doors are open to you, and we understand the sensitive nature of your case. We will treat your consultation with the utmost discretion and respect.

If you have any questions, please call us at (502) 242-8877 for a free consultation to determine the merits of your case.

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