Romney introduces bill to fight Utah opioid crisis

Senate US Afghanistan
Posted at 11:12 AM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 13:45:45-04

WASHINGTON, DC — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia introduced bipartisan legislation to fight opioid abuse and addiction which is rampant in the state and around the country.

The Life Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act would establish a fee to provide and expand access to substance use treatment.

“Importantly, this legislation will bolster the significant work Utah has done to combat the opioid epidemic by helping to fund our state’s treatment and recovery support services,” said Romney.

READ: Opioid addiction has been declared a national health crisis and Utah is not immune

In 2020, more than 90,000 Americans died from drug related overdoses – the highest year of overdose deaths ever recorded – with more than half of those likely involving an opioid or synthetic-opioid. The LifeBOAT Act would establish a stewardship fee to fund efforts to provide and expand access to substance use treatment.

A one cent fee would be added on each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription pain pill, with a rebate for cancer related pain and hospice patients and an exemption for opioids used as part of medically assisted treatment.

Some uses of the funding include establishing new addiction treatment facilities and increasing reimbursement for mental health providers providing substance use disorder treatment, particularly in medically underserved or rural communities.

Joining them in introducing the LifeBOAT Act include Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).