Senators Hassan, Murkowski, Luján Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Investments in Substance Misuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery

Senators’ Bill Requires Use of Evidence-Based Services and Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment

U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) introduced bipartisan legislation to increase investments in substance misuse prevention, treatment, and recovery programs. The Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act reauthorizes and strengthens the Substance Abuse Block Grant program, including by requiring that funding goes to evidence-based services, including medication-assisted treatment.

“As Granite Staters of all ages continue to struggle with substance misuse and we see heartbreaking overdose deaths, we must continue to strengthen substance misuse prevention, treatment, and recovery programs,” said Senator Hassan. “As this crisis evolves, our bipartisan legislation takes critical steps to increase investments in addressing substance misuse and ensure that we specifically support recovery and proven treatment programs.”

“I’ve heard firsthand from Alaskans across the state about the power of recovery support services. Recovery is not a simple, short-term process, but together, with the appropriate resources, we have the ability to help turn the tide of the substance abuse epidemic,” said Senator Murkowski. “Building on my years-long effort to prevent further drug overdoses in Alaska, I’m joining Senators Hassan and Luján in a push to authorize a 10 percent set-aside for recovery services in the SAPTBG which will provide greater access to long-term recovery services. I thank the many Alaskan recovery organizations who are working to meet the needs of countless Alaskans who have fallen into the cycle of substance abuse. Their support of this legislation and the advocacy they provide vulnerable individuals in our state is so important.”

“Our country must continue to support every effective tool that protects our communities against harmful, addictive substances,” said Senator Luján. “That’s why I’m proud to join Senators Hassan and Murkowski in introducing legislation to reauthorize critical substance abuse block grants to ensure our communities in New Mexico have the necessary tools to prevent and treat substance abuse, including dedicated recovery funding.”

“As an organization serving Alaskans in and seeking recovery from substance use disorders and their family members, we know that recovery support services are critical to helping individuals achieve and sustain their recovery.  However, unfortunately, critical peer recovery support services like the ones that we offer have been underfunded due to the lack of dedicated funding streams,” said Kara Nelson with True North Recovery. “But, the introduction of the Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act would change the whole landscape by creating a set-aside for recovery support services in the Substance Abuse Block Grant – the first dedicated funding stream for these services that providers could rely on.  We applaud Sen. Murkowski for championing this important legislation, which we know will make a real difference and save lives in Alaska.”

“The Substance Abuse Block Grant is a critical funding source for treatment and prevention services in Alaska and around the country.  However, while there is a specific set-aside for prevention, such a funding stream for recovery does not exist.  That’s why we are so happy to support the Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act, which would establish a 10% set-aside for peer recovery support services. Recovery benefits not only to the people directly receiving the services, but also their children, their loved ones, their co-workers, and the entire community. Recover Alaska is proud to endorse this legislation and thanks Sen. Murkowski for her leadership.” said Tiffany Hall, Executive Director, Recover Alaska

The Substance Abuse Block Grant program has helped Alaska and states across the country increase prevention, treatment, and recovery services. The grant program is set to expire at the end of 2022. In addition to reauthorizing the program, the Senators’ bipartisan Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Act strengthens the Substance Abuse Block Grant program in a number of ways, including by:

  • Increasing potential funding for the program from $1.9 billion to $3.2 billion;
  • Creating a 10% set-aside for recovery services – the program currently includes a 20% set-aside for prevention services;
  • Barring funds from going to recovery programs that are not evidence-based. For instance, organizations that refuse to serve individuals receiving medication-assisted treatment – which is the gold standard for opioid use disorder treatment – would not be able to receive funding.

Senators Hassan and Murkowski have led efforts to expand access to medication-assisted treatment. Last year and following their advocacy, the Biden administration removed some requirements that limited health care providers’ ability to prescribe buprenorphine. Senators Hassan and Murkowski are continuing to press for passage of the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act, a bipartisan bill that would fully eliminate these needless restrictions.