WASHINGTON—Today on International Overdose Awareness Day, Congressman Paul D. Tonko marked the milestone achievement of his bipartisan Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act receiving the official support of more than 100 House members who signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation. Tonko’s bill would expand access to life-saving addiction treatment by clearing the bureaucratic requirement, known commonly as the “x-waiver,” currently blocking millions of highly-trained health professionals from prescribing buprenorphine to their patients.
“The COVID crisis is driving our nation’s opioid epidemic to devastating new heights, with more than 90,000 neighbors and loved ones lost to the disease of addiction in 2020 alone,” Congressman Tonko said. “This deadly crisis will continue unless we take immediate action to expand access to affordable treatments. My Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act can help turn the tide combating this overdose epidemic. The bill finally puts an end to the outdated, bureaucratic ‘x-waiver’ and opens the door for millions more Americans to access the safe, proven medication buprenorphine. With the steadfast support of more than 100 of my colleagues in the House, I am confident that Congress can get it done. I will continue pushing this legislation forward to give hope and a path forward for the millions who continue to struggle with the disease of addiction.”
For years, Tonko has worked to support American’s struggling with addiction. He led his colleagues in a letter to President Biden this year calling for him to support the bipartisan MAT Act and strengthen access to medication-assisted treatment.
After France took similar action to make buprenorphine available without a specialized waiver, opioid overdose deaths in the country declined by 79 percent over a four-year period.
The bipartisan list of members co-sponsoring the MAT Act can be found HERE.