Tonko Addiction Treatment Legislation Clears Key Milestone in House
Bipartisan Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act supported by more than half of House members
Washington, December 1, 2021
Tags: Addiction & Recovery
WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Paul D. Tonko today announced that the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act—reintroduced in February this year—has garnered the official support of the majority of members in the House of Representatives with more than 218 representatives cosponsoring the legislation. This bipartisan bill would expand lifesaving addiction treatment by removing an antiquated requirement called the “x-waiver” that is blocking health professionals from prescribing the proven treatment buprenorphine to their patients.
This news comes at a time when America’s opioid epidemic is deadlier than ever—with the nation surpassing 100,000 deaths by drug overdose for the first time ever in a 12-month period.
“As our nation’s opioid crisis reaches scary new heights, buprenorphine stands as a tried-and-true medication that would help millions struggling with the disease of addiction, yet deployment of this safe, proven treatment continues to be hampered by unnecessary red tape,” Congressman Tonko said. “For years I have pushed to eliminate the outdated x-waiver and open the doors of access to this lifesaving drug with my Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act, and I am deeply gratified to receive strong support from my colleagues both in the House and the Senate on this endeavor. This expansive, bipartisan support speaks to the incredible need of our communities. I urge Congress to move forward to advance this legislation immediately and bring hope and a path forward to those who need it most.”
After France took similar action to make buprenorphine available without a specialized waiver, opioid overdose deaths declined by 79 percent over a four-year period.
The MAT Act currently has 225 cosponsors. Original House cosponsors of the bill are Representatives Michael Turner (R-OH), Antonio Delgado (D-NY) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), with partner legislation introduced in the Senate by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).