Cordova Times: Drug bill offers improved community-based services

Opioid legislation signed into law on Oct. 24 includes provisions by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska to boost research initiatives, improve treatment and recovery services and measure progress towards stopping the epidemic.

The Support for Patients and Communities Act passed the Senate 98-1 on Oct. 3.

“We are aware that in Alaska there is a shortage of trained professionals to treat addiction and substance abuse,” Murkowski said. “This legislation will help bridge that gap.”

One of several Murkowski provisions included in the final bill allows National Health Service Corps participants to provide behavioral and mental health services at community-based settings in areas where such services are in short supply.

Other provisions in the final version co-sponsored by Murkowski require loan repayment to behavioral health providers practicing in substance use disorder treatment facilities in mental health professional shortage areas and allow the National Institutes of Health to use its “other transactions authority” for high impact cutting-edge research projects.

The bill also extends funding for state targeted response grants from the 21st Century Cures Act to support tribes, including language allowing for a 5 percent set aside to tribal organizations and tribes, plus increased flexibility in utilizing the grants.

Source: Cordova Times